Intimacy coordinators and nudity on screen have been the talk of the town lately, with Emma Thompson and Sean Bean among those weighing in on the subject.
Equity, a performing arts and entertainment trade union, have promised that actors will be issued nudity warnings in a move to tackle bullying and harassment in TV productions.
As reported by the BBC, 21 organisations have come together in a bid to address potential inappropriate behaviour on TV sets. Sky, Warner Bros. and BBC are among the organisations who have backed Equity’s commitment.
Sean Bean recently made headlines by criticising the use of intimacy coordinators. The Game of Thrones actor said they “spoil the spontaneity” of sex scenes. “I think the natural way lovers behave would be ruined by someone bringing it right down to a technical exercise,” Bean commented.
Major media orgs including the BBC, ITV Studios, Sky and Warner Bros. have developed, with Equity, a Statement of Commitment to tackle workplace bullying, harassment and inappropriate behaviour in the TV industry.
— Equity (@EquityUK) August 22, 2022
National treasure Dame Emma Thompson then defended the use of intimacy coordinators on Australian radio. Speaking of filming sex scenes, the actress explained: “There’s a camera there and a crew. You’re not on your own in a hotel room, you’re surrounded by a bunch of blokes, mostly. So it’s not a comfortable situation full stop.”
Thompson recently starred in the rather raunchy Good Luck To You, Leo Grande as a widow looking to spice up her sex life with the help of a sex worker.
Equity stated that their new commitment is a move “towards a culture in which everyone working in the TV industry feels able to call out unacceptable behaviour and that nobody is above being challenged: no one is untouchable.”
Equity President Linda Rooke commented on the union’s new stance: “On behalf of every performer who has experienced bullying and harassment during their on-screen working lives, I welcome this commitment by industry representatives to create a safe working environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
“But to establish an inclusive and respectful culture requires actions not just words, and I encourage all those working in this sector to recognise their individual responsibility to report inappropriate behaviour and unite against any pressure to remain silent on these issues.”
Under Equity’s new guidelines, actors would receive written warnings about “the scope and extent of nudity and any simulated sex requested” and there would also be a discussion and agreement with the artist. Intimacy coordinators would be engaged if acceptable by the talent.