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.”
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.”
Many studio heads were inspired to take action after more than 200 women and gender-nonconforming animation industry workers published an open letter last October demanding an end to harassment in the workplace. “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.
Added Six Point Harness owner, and WIA treasurer, Brendan Burch, “The indie animation studios in Los Angeles are generally tight knit. Having come together in the past to address industry issues, we knew we could collaborate and act decisively in response to that letter.”
“This pledge establishes a code of behavior for all employees and a vow from studio leaders to enforce that code,” said Chris Hamilton, president of Oddbot, Inc. “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,” said Shannon Prynoski, Titmouse co-founder and vice president. 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.”
Women in Animation is encouraging all studios in Los Angeles to adopt the pledge, or some form of it. Dean reports that WIA has already received inquiries from studios around the world, so it could have a larger impact beyond West Coast animation industry.
Studios that are interested in taking part can get more information on the Women in Animation website. Here is the pledge: