Sexual harassment from the casting team is something many actors, especially women, have to deal with quite frequently. It can be very psychologically and emotionally distressing and rightfully leaves people feeling uncomfortable, confused, and angry. It’s not surprising to learn that these issues prevent many actors from continuing to pursue their career as they feel unsafe and unwelcome. If you suffer sexual harassment at the hands of the casting team, here are a few things you can do to try to correct the situation.
Explicitly Say ‘No’
In a sexual harassment case, there is a legal requirement that the conduct be unwanted. For this reason, it is imperative that you explicitly tell the casting team that their behavior is not wanted by you and to firmly and resolutely tell them no. This can be a difficult step and you may find yourself not wanting to get involved in direct conflict, but it is very important for you own sake that you clearly and forcefully make your feelings on the matter known.
Otherwise, the casting team can claim ‘plausible deniability’ and make it even more difficult for you to resolve the issue.
It’s vital that you report the harassment to whichever authority can deal with it most effectively at this level, which will probably be an employer. Tell them exactly what is going on, tell them that you are not okay with it, and ask them to do something to put an end to the issue. This is a very good step to take to get the harassment to stop and can often (but by no means always) mark the end of the behavior on the part of the casting team.
The casting team may attempt to defend their behavior by going after your work performance. For this reason, you’re going to want to keep detailed and official records of all of your work performance so that you can dispute this claim. If you don’t, they may be able to get away with their harassment by disparaging your work history and falsely claiming that this is the reason you are reporting them. Keeping work records will make sure that this can’t happen to you.
It would also be a good idea to make several copies of the most important records so that you still have a case if you accidentally lose or misplace any of these files.
Talk to others
Finally, and if it’s in the interest of your own safety, you’re going to want to talk to people you can trust about your experience. You might find people who have also been harassed by the casting team and can act as allies, or otherwise you might find people who have seen the team’s behavior and can act as witnesses. At the very least, you can find someone who will provide an open ear and emotional support for you as you try to work through this issue and finish it for good.