Hollywood labour union backs bill banning digital sex scenes without performer consent

  • TECH
  • Friday, 29 Mar 2019

SAG-AFTRA President actress Gabrielle Carteris talks during the 25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards show at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 27, 2019. (Photo by Frederic J. Brown / AFP)

LOS ANGELES: The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) is supporting California Senate Bill 564, which bans the creation and dissemination of digitally created sex scenes and nude performances without consent. 

The legislation was introduced by Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino) with input from SAG-AFTRA – in order to enhance performers’ protections when they are involved in sex scenes and their rights to control their likeness, including digital depictions. The union also said this legislation will give Californians the right to sue creators of “deepfake” pornography or fake sex tapes. 

SAG-AFTRA president and actress Gabrielle Carteris – best known for playing Andrea Zuckerman from the 1990s TV hit Beverly Hills, 90210 – said, “We’re very excited that Senator Leyva has introduced SB 564. Filmmakers have an obligation to obtain meaningful consent when producing sexually explicit material. To perform intimate scenes is a serious decision for performers, there is incredible vulnerability with potential to affect their home life, mental health, career, and public perception.” 

“Sexually explicit material must be carefully scripted and agreed upon in advance,” she added. “This bill safeguards performers ensuring that they continue working in a dignified and safe environment.” 

Filmmakers and producers are required, under union contracts and SB 564, to obtain written consent for both nude performances and the performance of a simulated sex act. The legislation does not distinguish between a public and private figure. It establishes statutory damages, and gives an individual the option to file anonymously to maintain privacy and prevent unwanted media attention. 

“We’re entering a new digital era in which content creators use technology to manipulate images to depict individuals as engaging in sexual activity or as performing in the nude without their consent or participation,” SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White said. “And it’s not just celebrities who are at risk. Every person is a potential target for this form of image-based sexual abuse.” 

“We need to push hard for laws that target this kind of abuse, hold bad actors accountable for their actions, and establish rules around consent and civil remedies for victims, so that bad actors are deterred from making the videos in the first place,” White added. – Variety/Reuters

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