The South African Guild of Actors (SAGA) is a powerful, unified voice for actors in the film, television, stage, commercial and corporate sectors in South Africa. The Guild exists to promote professionalism in the performance industry, and to protect and enhance actors' working conditions, compensation and benefits.

#thatsnotok

SAGA is drawing attention to an industry in crisis, with 78% of women working in film and TV saying they are discriminated against because of their gender. It's video series pull back the veil of magic around the world of cinema to reveal that women both on camera and behind the camera face often insurmountable obstacles to succeeding.

A report is being compiled by Swift (Sisters Working in Film and Television) contains the results of a poll conducted with women in film between January and April this year. The poll included space for comments, which, when read out, left women in the sessions reeling – and elicited numerous similar accounts from the room.

Some of the experiences documented include:

  • “I was told by my direct superior (a woman) to sleep with one of our international clients. When I (aghast) refused, she said: “Oh be a sport, he is going through a divorce and we must show him a good time.”
  • “I’ve had male crew members making sexist comments and asking me if they can visit me in my room at night especially when shooting out of town.”
  • “A young lady on set blacked out with other crew members present. When she awoke she had pain and suspected rape. The producer told her it’s her own fault and fired her for going to the hospital for a rape kit.”

Of the 76 women polled, 23.7% indicated that they had been unwillingly touched while working in the industry; 65% signified that they had witnessed sexual harassment by a perpetrator in a higher position (plus 30% in an equal position and 5% in a lower position). Of the 54.8% of respondents who intervened to stop the harassment, 27% say that they risked their job to do so. And 41.3% of respondents felt they had experienced discrimination based on their body image related to their body size or “look”. A remaining 55.5% indicated that they had felt discriminated against based on factors such as sexual orientation, religion, family life and income bracket.

Of the women polled, 68.1% believed that they had to work twice as hard and be twice as good as their male counterparts in the industry.

In addition to gender, 58% of respondents said they had been discriminated against based on their race.

The campaign called #ThatsNotOk includes a series of short video public service announcements acting out real-life incidents from the poll.

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