STATEMENT FROM ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION REGARDING WEST SIDE STORY

NEW YORK -- Actors’ Equity Association released the following statement after a report in the New York Times that members of West Side Story have become concerned about safety and that the producers have retained a cybersecurity consultant to prevent online harassment.

From Actors’ Equity Association Executive Director Mary McColl:

“Everyone at West Side Story should be able to go to work and perform feeling safe and protected in their workplace. Equity has been in communication with the general manager and the members of the show. As a union, Equity’s role is to ensure that our members are protected in the workplace and we take that responsibility very seriously. Equity will continue to hold all employers to their legal obligation to maintain a safe and harassment-free environment. I want all members, wherever they might work, to know that they can contact their business representative whenever there is any kind of problem in the workplace, or use the Equity hotline to anonymously report problems in their workplace.”

Background from Actors’ Equity: Actors’ Equity has been working for years to ensure a safe and harassment-free workplace for all members, including instituting a hotline and adding stronger harassment prevention language in collective bargaining agreements. It has partnered with The Actors Fund to develop a program to help Equity staff assist its members and requires all Equity employers provide a copy of their own harassment policies to the union, as well as make those policies available to Equity members at the first rehearsal and throughout their employment under an Equity contract. Equity now has hundreds of policies on file as a resource for members. 

In 2018, Equity created the President’s Committee to Prevent Harassment, which was formed to recommend additional forward-looking strategies to prevent harassment and bullying in the theatre. In addition, Equity has adopted a Code of Conduct – for elected officials and rank-and-file members – that is read aloud at activities, events and meetings.

Equity members can report unsafe work conditions, harassment and bullying in the workplace by calling their business representative or using an anonymous hotline that can be accessed by phone at 833-550-0030 or online at ActorsEquity.org/Safety.

February 20, 2020

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