Anita Hill's Hollywood Commission Launches Anti-Bullying Training Series

“Harvey Weinstein and Scott Rudin may have been the most boldface examples of abuse of power in Hollywood, but they are not outliers,” Hill says

Brian Welk

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The Anita Hill-led Hollywood Commission on Friday announced a series of free panels and industry training sessions with the aim to curb bullying in the entertainment business.

The panels feature speakers such as Steven Soderbergh, Amy Baer, Liz Alper, Andrew Coles and others and will run throughout the end of May. Hill says that the reports of abuse surrounding Harvey Weinstein and Scott Rudin are “not outliers” in the industry, and the commission has recommended steps industry leaders can take to address rampant bullying.

“Harvey Weinstein and Scott Rudin may have been the most boldface examples of abuse of power in Hollywood, but they are not outliers. Hollywood has systematically recruited and mistreated a vulnerable class of workers out in the open, in the name of ‘paying dues,’” Anita Hill, chair of the Hollywood Commission, said in a statement. “For there to be real and lasting culture change across Hollywood’s businesses and ranks, then it can no longer ignore how its entry-level employees are hired and treated and must provide the training, resources and modeling necessary to stop the cycles of abuse and retaliation, full-stop.” 

The data released on Friday is an expansion of the Hollywood Commission’s industry-wide survey that was released throughout the end of last year, with specific findings about bullying, especially toward Hollywood assistants, that you can find in detail here.

Hill’s survey found that the most abuse in Hollywood and the worst differential in power comes in the relationship between boss and assistant, who are two to three times more likely to report experiencing bullying than other types of workers. The survey also found that a majority of assistants are women under 40, and their rates of abuse were also “staggeringly high.”

Assistants most commonly reported enduring excessively harsh criticism (1 in 5), insults, sarcasm or other gestures to humiliate (1 in 4), and being yelled at when angry (1 in 4).

In addition to the free events, the commission outlined steps employers should take in addressing bullying.

  • Prohibit and define bullying in clear terms that do not require the employer to demonstrate the intent of the abuser
  • Establish policies and processes to address bullying complaints
  • Terminate employees who engage in any form of retaliation, including threatening or refusing to hire someone who raises concerns about bullying
  • Pay assistants a living wage so that the industry isn’t privileging those who can afford to live in L.A. or have been able to afford unpaid internships
  • Develop diverse recruiting relationships and establish talent pipelines with diverse colleges and universities. Stop only recruiting from Ivy League into mailrooms
  • Create clear definitions of professional and personal assistants 
  • Provide actual training in entry-level training programs (versus mailroom hazing; paying your dues)

A full list of The Hollywood Commission’s list of events and training sessions on bullying, along with links to register, can be found below:

Upcoming Events and Trainings

Panel Discussion: Power, Bullying and Toxic Workplaces in Hollywood

The Hollywood Commission is hosting a panel focused on the culture of workplace abuse in Hollywood and how all workers can contribute to creating equitable, fair and safe workplaces. This candid forum will feature industry executives and workplace culture experts discussing how to what needs to be done to create positive workplaces in Hollywood and will be moderated by workplace and leadership expert Lauren Rikleen. Panelists include Steven Soderbergh (Director), Amy Baer (Producer), Liz Hsiao Lan Alper (Writer and #PayUpHollywood Founder) Andrew Coles (Founder & CEO, The Mission Entertainment).

Thursday, May 20, 11 a.m. PT: Register here

Creating Cultures of Respect

The focus of this program is to understand how workplace cultures and related policies and practices can foster environments that tolerate bullying behaviors and sexual harassment. The program will explore how power dynamics permeate workplace cultures and create conditions that allow unchecked negative behaviors to escalate over time.

Tuesday, May 25, 10 a.m. PT: Register here

Thursday, May 27, 10 a.m. PT: Register here

Bystander Intervention

To address the culture of bullying, the Hollywood Commission partnered with a leader in harassment prevention and bystander intervention to create a one-of-a-kind workshop for Hollywood. These entertainment specific workshops were created with feedback from entertainment industry professionals. Bystander intervention training teaches you how to identify bullying, sexual harassment or other unwelcome behavior strategies to support a victim feel and empowered to intervene when appropriate. This workshop is highly interactive.

Cast and Crew – Wednesday, May 26, 1 p.m. PT: Register here

Directors/Showrunners – Thursday, May 27, 1 p.m. PT: Register here

Corporate/Office Workers – Friday, May 28, 1 pm PT: Register here


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