Sexual Harassment in Entertainment Targeted by New California Law

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A new law requires talent agencies to provide educational material on sexual harassment, and also on eating disorders common among models.

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday signed new legislation that requires talent agencies to make educational materials on sexual harassment prevention, retaliation and reporting available to their clients. In addition, if the client is a model, they will have to provide materials on nutrition and eating disorders to combat body image issues and eating disorders that are common in the modeling industry.

The law, known as AB 2338, also includes a provision requiring the state labor commissioner to provide sexual harassment training to 14- to 17-year-olds in the entertainment industry, and to their parents. The training can be online, as can the talent agency materials. In addition, talent agencies representing minors must request and retain a copy of a minor’s entertainment work permit prior to representing the minor.

“We see big problems in the headlines but there are artists in every sector of the industry who suffer in silence with sexual harassment,” said AB 2338 sponsor Assembly member Marc Levine in an earlier interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “This will give them tools to stand up for themselves and know their rights.”

He added in a statement, “We also know that just as talent struggles to maintain a certain body image, young girls and boys are impacted by these distorted images of perfection. This legislation strives to correct the industry’s bad habits and its impacts on society.”

The new law previously passed both houses of the legislature overwhelmingly. It did not include an effective date, which under California law generally means that it will take effect Jan. 1.