The Producers Guild of India on Wednesday listed the steps it has taken to ensure the safety and security of all its members. The move comes after several prominent personalities from the film industry were accused of sexual harassment and misconduct as a part of the #MeToo movement in the country.
Last week, the guild set up a special committee on sexual harassment after director and producer Vinta Nanda had alleged that actor Alok Nath raped her in her home nearly two decades ago. The guild called for an extraordinary general meeting to amend several of its by-laws.
The guild has now made it mandatory for all new and existing members to sign a declaration that affirms that The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013 and any amendment has been instituted and implemented in their workplaces.
“This is to be signed and submitted by every guild member within 30 days of receipt of the declaration from the guild,” it said in a statement. Over this period, the guild will employ specialised external agencies to conduct a series of workshops, which will enable members to “institute and implement these robust processes at their workplaces, if they have not already done so”.
Those members who fail to submit the declaration will be expelled, said the statement.
Guild members will also have to state that if the Internal Complaints Committee finds a nominated member guilty of sexual harassment, it will have the right to immediately expel the nominated representative.
“The committee will enable all guild members to institute and implement robust processes in their workplaces to ensure the highest standards of safety for employees and crew members, whether in offices or on the sets of productions,” the statement said. “The guild is committed to working on a sustained and continuing basis to make industry workplaces safe spaces for everyone who works here.”
Earlier, the guild said that it supports the movement to call out and report sexual harassment and abuse anywhere in the industry. “We believe that there is an urgent need to set up a robust process to ensure the highest standards of safety for employees and crew members at the workplace – whether in officers or on sets of production,” it added.
Since October 5, dozens of women, including journalists, have taken to social media to give detailed accounts of the sexual harassment and misconduct they have faced.
It was preceded by actor Tanushree Dutta alleging that colleague Nana Patekar had intimidated and harassed her on the sets of the 2009 film Horn ‘Ok’ Pleassss.
Other Bollywood personalities accused of harassment include directors Vikas Bahl, Subhash Ghai and Sajid Khan. Anirban Blah, founder of talent agency KWAN Entertainment and who has managed actors like Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor in the past, stepped down following allegations of sexual harassment against him. Yash Raj Films sacked Ashish Patil, a top executive at the company, with immediate effect.
At least 11 women filmmakers have said they will not work with proven offenders as a mark of their support to the #MeToo movement in the country. The directors include Alankrita Shrivastava, Konkana Sen Sharma, Gauri Shinde, Meghna Gulzar, Nandita Das, Zoya Akhtar, Nitya Mehra, Reema Kagti, Shonali Bose, Ruchi Narain and Kiran Rao.