A new study may suggest otherwise.
Researchers found that in the presence of directors, male actors, who had more experience working with other actors, had higher rates of sexual misconduct than male actors who had worked less with actors. They were also more likely than male actors with no recent director contact to have been victimized by a sexual harassment or unwanted groping event.
“These data help explain some of the puzzling findings of recent years regarding why young women are less likely to complain about sexual assault or harassment in the work place than are young men,” co-author Tanya Conboy, from the Centre for Crime Prevention and Control at the University of Sydney in Australia, said in a statement. “Some of the explanation for this discrepancy may be that female actors have a different experience of working in the film industry, while their male counterparts work more closely and work with more colleagues.”
The University of Sydney team compared the reports of 6,750 actors from the past five years to the sexual misconduct reports from the Australian government. The results from the study, which was published in the Journal of Crime and Justice in 2014, concluded that the director was the biggest factor in the higher prevalence of sexual misconduct across the board.
They also found that the higher the director contact with the actor, the higher the likelihood of misconduct. “Sexual misconduct was more prevalent the more frequent the director contact,” Conboy said. “The results demonstrate an emerging relationship between director contact and sexual misconduct.”
The researchers conducted three different types of interview methods.
The first was a series of questions that asked actors whether they had been sexually harassed or assaulted. About a quarter of the female actors who reported having had such an event answered yes to both questions, compared to around 13 percent of the male actors who had experienced such a incident. Of the female actors who reported not being sexually assaulted, the researchers found similar rates of having been sexually harassed to the male actors.
The other interviews were more simple and measured the actor’s ability to communicate a threat and how it felt to be the victim of sexual harassment. In one such interview, actors were filmed, and then were asked to indicate which part of their body was being touched. Half the actors were asked to show the area and the other half not being directly touching it.
While only 3 percent of the female actors who reported being sexually touched did so during a direct act, 6 percent of male actors who reported getting touched did so during a direct act.
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