Sexism still rife in Hollywood despite #MeToo uproar, survey finds

A protester holds a sign up during a #MeToo demonstration outside Trump International hotel in New York City, NY, U.S., December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Files

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Three years after the #MeToo scandal roiled Hollywood, causing dozens of powerful men to lose their jobs, two-thirds of women who took part in a survey of the entertainment business released on Tuesday report continuing incidences of sexual harassment.

The survey by the Hollywood Commission also asked about racism, and found that fewer than half of those who took part believe that Hollywood values diverse backgrounds and points of view.

The online survey, launched in November 2019, was billed as the largest ever in the industry, embracing workers in television and film, commercials, live theater, music, broadcast news, talent agencies, public relations, and corporate settings.

Almost 10,000 people responded. Some 67% of women reported experiencing gender harassment during the prior 12 months, with 42% of women reporting unwanted sexual attention.

One person who took part anonymously told the commission that when they were working as an assistant, the chief executive of the company “gave me actual assignments to flirt with other powerful people in the industry to try to get my bosses more meetings.”

The commission, chaired by law professor Anita Hill, said Hollywood had made progress in tackling “significant culture and climate issues of harassment and discrimination” but more must be done.

The commission applauded new diversity standards for future Oscar contenders to win a best picture Academy Award, a pledge by Netflix to donate $100 million to Black-owned financial institutions, and an initiative by actor Michael B. Jordan to increase Black voices behind and in front of the camera.

Recommendations by the commission included limiting confidentiality and nondisclosure agreements, prohibiting bullying, increased mentorship, and bystander training that helps employees defuse racist or sexist incidents.

Hill became an icon for many women when she accused now-Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in his nomination hearings in 1991. Thomas denied the accusations.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall