Over 90% of respondents in a USA Today poll say they’ve been the target of unwanted sexual comments, flashing or worse
No wonder the #MeToo movement took off in Hollywood.
94% of women working in the entertainment industry say that they’ve been the victims of sexual harassment or adult. That jaw dropping figure comes from a recently released poll of 843 women conducted by USA Today in partnership with industry trade groups and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. The respondents, whose professions ran the gamut from directors to actors and producers, say that they were often preyed on by older, more senior men.
Per the poll, the most common form of sexual harassment experienced (87%) was receiving an unwanted sexual comment, joke or gesture. Large percentages of women also report receiving unwanted touching (69%), with 64% saying that they’ve been asked for sex or to enter a relationship. Smaller, but still significant, numbers of industry females say that they’ve received unwanted sexual photos (39%) and 29% of women report having been flashed at.
Despite this, only about 25% of women say they’ve officially reported such sexual misconduct, largely because they’re afraid of retribution. “I have been in a position at events with clients, where either the client or a member of the client’s team has made sexually explicit comments, sexual advances and/or touched my body without consent,” one 40-something publicist told the pollsters. “These assailants seem confident enough to know they can become predators without repercussion.”
Happily, a generational change might spur some change. Millennial women aged 18 to 29 are the most likely to report such actions (35%), though the percentage dips to 20% among 30 to 39-year-old Xennials.
While the high percentage of women survivors is stunning, it’s not that surprising that the entertainment industry boasts so many predators. With some exceptions, entertainment world power brokers are almost exclusively male (ahem). The subjective creative element involved in casting decisions, and the huge pool of attractive female talent drawn to that industry, also gives the senior men disproportionate power. After all, even Hollywood royalty like Gwyneth Paltrow and Salma Hayek have revealed that they’re survivors.
But as no less than entertainment queen and legend Oprah Winfrey has noted: “A new day is on the horizon. And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women…and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say “Me Too” again.”
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