Millions of Americans have, in recent weeks, discovered that their favorite movies and shows were made by men now accused of sexual assault or harassment. This presents a dilemma for those who would prefer to watch art by people who haven’t built their careers on the sexual exploitation of those around them. But how can moviegoers avoid supporting such institutions and individuals?
Not easily. Right now, the public has no way of knowing how pervasive sexual harassment is at any one company or production. In other industries—oil and gas, apparel and footwear, and tech, for examples—moments of revelation and public outrage have moved companies toward new codes of conduct, processes, and accountability mechanisms. Those initiatives have fielded criticism for not having enough teeth, speed, or reach. However, they have changed how some major companies operate, and have helped civil-society organizations and policymakers better understand the businesses, to in turn better hold them to account.
Is it the entertainment industry’s turn to develop a new standard, working with watchdog groups and regulators as other sectors have done? Should there be a stamp of approval in the credits from a third party that says, “No sexual harassment went into the making of this film?”