October 20, 2017
ACTION ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Fellow Guild Members,
In the last two weeks, countless courageous women have stepped forward, exposing decades of sexual harassment, intimidation and assault perpetrated by producer Harvey Weinstein. This reporting may have begun south of the border, but everyone in our business knows that’s not where it ends. The rot of harassment in film & television runs far deeper than one man and extends every bit as much into our country as any other.
I have been profoundly moved by the brave women, including many of our Members, who’ve called out this misconduct in our own community. Sarah Polley, Lyne Charlebois, Jacqui Gould and many others, have shone a light on the corrosive culture of “turning a blind-eye” that’s allowed this behaviour to go on for so long – and it has got to end.
The Guild has long maintained an unambiguous policy on harassment, including in our code of ethics and disciplinary procedures. Our position is now, and has always been, that all persons deserve a safe workplace, free of harassment in any form. Over several cycles, DGC District Councils have bargained to add, and strengthen, harassment protections within our collective agreements. Some councils have enacted mandatory anti-harassment training for new members. Yet, despite our efforts, we know an industry culture that enables harassment, and a pervasive fear of retaliation, still exist. And we know we need to do more.
A week from now, your National Executive Board will meet in Toronto. This issue will be at the top of our agenda. As President, I’ll be calling for a thorough audit of our existing protections to determine where they have been effective and, yes, where they remain simply inadequate. But I’ll also be asking for a mandate to take up this fight with our industry partners – including producers and broadcasters.
The women who’ve come forward this past week have unleashed an undeniable momentum to change the status quo. I want you all to know that the Guild not only stands with them, but will stand alongside any member affect by harassment, supporting them every step of the way. We want not only to speak out against misconduct, but play a leading role fighting to change the culture that has abided this abuse for far too long.
I commit to reporting back to you after your board meets at the end of next week.
National President, Directors Guild of Canada