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Women in Animation Announces Anti-Harassment Pledge

Industry agreement bolsters safe and equitable work environments in independent studios.

LOS ANGELES -- Women in Animation has partnered with a group of independent studio owners to craft and agree to an anti-harassment pledge affirming there is no tolerance for harassment in the workplace.

The pledge, which will be shared with all independent studios, has already been adopted by OddBot, Six Point Harness, Titmouse, Bento Box Entertainment, CounterPunch Studios, Duncan Studio, Incessant Rain Animation Studios, Renegade Animation, Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, Tonko House and Wild Canary Animation. The studio’s presidents or owners have agreed to sign this pledge, which is counter-signed by each employee.  

The pledge outlines that the studios are: “committed to providing safe and equitable work environments free of discrimination and harassment.” Additionally, the document outlines, “We will not tolerate discrimination and any form of unlawful harassment, including but not limited to sexual harassment. We understand that we all have a responsibility to ensure that each of our studios is safe for all employees and independent contractors.”

After more than 200 women and gender nonconforming people in the animation industry crafted an open letter to speak out against sexual harassment, many studio heads were eager to unite with them in a mission to take action and wipe out this behavior. Capturing this positive change momentum, WIA board members wanted to bring together the heads of the local independent studios to talk about what could be done.

“Studio heads recognize that there is always more that can be done to educate our community and create enforceable policies that protect their employees,” says Marge Dean, president of WIA. 

“The indie animation studios in Los Angeles are generally tight knit,” says Brendan Burch, owner of Six Point Harness and treasurer for WIA. “Having come together in the past to address industry issues, we knew we could collaborate and act decisively in response to that letter.” 

The pledge defines harassment as: “unwanted conduct on the grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. which has the purpose or effect of either violating the claimant's dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. Harassment is against state, federal and local laws.” It further defines sexual harassment as: “harassment based on sex or of a sexual nature; gender harassment; and harassment based on pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.”

“This pledge establishes a code of behavior for all employees and a vow from studio leaders to enforce that code,” says Chris Hamilton, president of OddBot. “When employees move from one indie studio to another, the same pledge will be waiting for them to sign in their new workplace, promoting a consistent net of zero-tolerance that stretches across the indie animation community.”

"Complementing our longstanding commitment to foster a creative, fun and safe working environment, we’re glad to stand with our animation colleagues in supporting the WIA anti-harassment pledge,” says Shannon Prynoski, Titmouse co-founder and VP. Chris Prynoski, Titmouse president and founder, added: "It’s more than just the right thing to do. We feel fortunate to be surrounded by strong, talented and brave humans who speak up even when it’s hard so that collectively we can uphold this important code of conduct.”

“To extend this pledge to the entire animation industry, we will share it with all studios to encourage them to adopt it or some form of it, expanding the web of safety even further,” says Dean. WIA has already received inquiries from studios around the world, so the reach of this document may be global in the very near future. “WIA is proud to be part of the kind of change that will have a lasting effect on how women and non-conforming people are treated in our business. I sincerely hope all studio owners, large and small, are aligned in these efforts,” says Burch. 

The complete template for the pledge can be found at http://womeninanimation.org/asap-animation-studio-anti-harassment-pledge/.

Source: Women in Animation

Thomas J. McLean's picture

Tom McLean has been writing for years about animation from a secret base in Los Angeles.

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