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SAG-AFTRA Responds to Calls for More Safety Protocols for Child Actors | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


SAG-AFTRA has responded to calls for additional safety protocols for child actors amid the revelations in Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV.

Last month, former Amanda Show writer Jenny Kilgen, who is also featured in Investigation Discovery’s docuseries, wrote an open letter to the actors union, urging them to “take action to initiate and institute robust child safety protocols to protect young actors.” She also expressed support for state and federal legislation.

The five-part Quiet on Set docuseries outlined allegations of abuse, sexism, racism and inappropriate behavior involving underage stars and crewmembers on Nickelodeon TV show sets run by Dan Schneider.

In response to Kilgen’s letter, SAG-AFTRA chief contracts officer Ray Rodriguez wrote, “The Union takes young performer safety very seriously and devotes considerable time to advocating for important legislative protections for minors and administering contract requirements for young performers. We give priority to complaints involving minors, maintain a constituent committee of young performers and help to fund and administer programs like ‘Looking Ahead’ that educate young performers about life as a child actor.”

The statement continued, “In addition, SAG-AFTRA’s most recent agreement requires background checks for any ‘teacher or welfare worker (or other individual assigned to perform the same duties as a welfare worker, such as a child labor coordinator) who is engaged by the Producer to supervise or teach minors employed under the Agreement.’ Additionally, we have authorized Producers to demand background checks as a condition of employment ‘for any person working in close proximity to one or more minor(s), other than a minor who is that person’s child/ward.’”

The performers union also noted that it has a Safer Set hotline for on-set safety issues as well as a reporting tool that provides referrals for therapeutic, legal or law enforcement assistance.

According to California law, people who are required to register as sex offenders are prohibited from providing services to minors working in the entertainment industry. Also, people who are looking to work with minors must undergo a criminal background check and obtain a Child Performer Services permit. But background checks for crewmembers on set are not required if the minor is accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Kilgen has specifically called for implementing safeguards such as “mandatory background checks, appropriate training for adults, transparency of investigation, & reporting policies, and free access to mental health providers through the employment cycle (and when necessary, after).” She also suggested a special task force to improve “child safety and welfare” within the entertainment industry and audit SAG-AFTRA’s current policies.

Kilgen continued in her letter, “It’s my hope that this action will address, and help to dismantle, the current industry power dynamic which seemingly exists to protect the financial well-being of the studios and networks, often at the expense of the emotional, psychological and physical well-being of the children they employ — a dynamic where predatory behavior is enabled, and parents are too often sidelined.”

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