Troubling recent events have brought to light a problem that has often been kept in the dark in our business: young people are — and can be — victims of sexual harassment and predation.
In the entertainment industry, it’s nothing new, unfortunately; the “casting couch” had been around since the very first auditions.
However, the advent of social media has helped focus a laser beam on these dark forces. Now more than ever before, predators are being called out and taken to task. And hopefully, the ease with which these immoral people often operate will become increasingly more difficult and even impossible.
Nevertheless, young models and actors in our business must continue to stay alert, aware and safe. They must never feel alone and hopeless in having to deal with harassment and predation.
It is the policy of Abbey Lynn Models to make sure its talent is always safe from predators and free from harassment, both on auditions and on the job. The commitment is real and taken very seriously.
Here, agency owner Abbey Fishman addresses the problem, offers solutions, and reminds young people that giving in to harassers and predators is never, ever okay.
Let’s make clear that every industry has its share of bad apples; most people in the modeling and talent industry are professional and respectful. Would you agree?
Agreed! In my experience, it is rare for improprieties to occur but they have happened. I feel people think they can act less than professional and take certain liberties due to the nature of the industry.
What should a model or actor know ahead of time before going to a casting or go-see that doesn’t feel right to them?
Just as they say on the subway, “If you see something, say something.” No one should ever be made to feel uncomfortable or put in a compromising situation. You should always tell your agent if something doesn’t seem right. It is best to trust your instincts. If something feels wrong, it probably is.
As an agent, what is your policy for models and actors who find themselves in a bad situation?
Assuming they are not in a dangerous predicament, they should maintain their professionalism on set and try not to be alone with the individual who is causing them discomfort. It is also very important to tell your agent about any issues that may have occurred. I want all of my models and actors to feel comfortable telling me about any incidents and concerns that may have happened as I take them all seriously.
Many models and actors may think that turning down a predator could hurt their career and make their agents angry. Why shouldn’t they feel this way?
No one should ever feel like they have to accept sexual harassment or physical assault so as not to risk their own career or upsetting others.
Does a model or actor have any recourse if they are approached or confronted by a predator?
They have me and I will ALWAYS be on the side of my models or actors should they be mistreated or abused.
What should a model or actor not do to reduce the chances of being targeted?
Can anyone reduce their chances of being targeted in today’s society? Probably not. In my opinion, any time a predator feels like they have the opportunity to exercise their ill-conceived power over an individual they deem weak, they will use it to their advantage.
I would caution models and actors to be wary of opportunities they may find online through a non-credible site or from a non-credible client. Never accept a ride or transportation to a shoot from an individual you don’t know or your agent hasn’t approved. A shoot that requires nudity should be discussed and pre-approved prior to the booking with one’s agent. If a client requests nudity on set and the model or actor was not aware of the request, that is cause for concern.
Most individuals in this industry are great people. Everyone is there for a common purpose and tries to create a fun, productive and jovial atmosphere on set. It would be a shame for models to treat their colleagues with speculation going forward due to recent issues brought to light.
What is your overall advice to models and actors who want to grow their career but not at the expense of their personal integrity?
No one should approach a situation expecting to be harassed; however, they should be ready to handle an unsavory situation should it arise.
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