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Sexual Assault in TV, Film, and Music

Sexual Assault in TV, Film, and Music

Protecting Adult Victims of Childhood Abuse

California Sexual Assault Lawyers Helping Victims in the Entertainment Industry

Aggressive representation for survivors working in film, TV, and music

In 2017, the New York Times and The New Yorker published articles that laid bare years of sexual assault, abuse, and harassment by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Since then, even more stories about Weinstein have come to light, and some of the country’s biggest film, television, and music stars have been called to account for their actions. The overwhelming response of the #MeToo movement has propelled these stories into the public eye.

At Taylor & Ring, we have applauded every single survivor who has come forward to speak truth to power about sexual abuse in the entertainment industry. As California sexual assault attorneys, we are proud to continue our work representing clients who have come forward to see justice done. If you were a victim of assault, abuse, or harassment, please contact our Los Angeles office to learn how we can help.

Sexual assault, abuse and harassment continues to plague the entertainment industry

The truth is, Americans have a hard time when they hear that their favorite TV anchors and actors have committed sex crimes. They are in our living rooms once a week or every day. We read their interviews and watch their press junkets. We begin to believe that we know them.

That is the secret to abusers’ behavior: the ability to groom people to trust them, so that they can act with virtual impunity behind the scenes. As California sexual assault attorneys, we cannot tell you how often survivors are surprised – not only that it happened to them, but by who their abusers were. Yet statistics show that out of every 10 cases of rape, 8 victims knew their rapists. One out of every 10 women will be raped by an intimate partner.

Child stars are especially vulnerable

In 2017, the AV Club published “an incomplete, depressingly long list” of actresses, actors, writers, singers, and athletes who were sexually abused or harassed while they were children. Almost all of those survivors are still working today, but there are many, many more who left the business altogether – and if the data is right, only about 12% of all child sexual abuse is ever reported.

What sexual assault and harassment look like in the movie business

When people talk about sexual assault in the movies, these days, they speak specifically of Harvey Weinstein – but sexual assault is not limited to rape. It can also include:

  • Inappropriate touching, including kissing, hugging, and groping
  • Making threats against a person if he or she does not engage in sexual acts
  • Forcing a person to watch an abuser masturbate
  • Forcibly penetrating a person with a foreign object
  • Using drugs or alcohol to ensure a victim’s pliancy

Sexual abusers may seek gratification, but this type of behavior is really about power: gaining power over a victim, and maintaining that power over his or her actions. For actors, stunt people, PAs, and others on a set, this abuse of power is behind their fears (“I could lose my job,” “My reputation will be ruined,” “I’ll never work again”).

We want you to know that we understand the choice to stay silent. Sexual assault is a deeply personal attack, and we have worked with clients whose abuse left them traumatized for years. But if you are ready to speak your truth, and to come out as a survivor of sexual violence, we want you to know that you will not be alone.

Sexual abuse in the television industry

When stories about Matt Lauer’s behavior started surfacing, a lot of people were taken aback; how could “America’s Sweetheart” have a button under his desk to lock the door, keeping women stuck in his office? How could we not know?

At Taylor & Ring, we fight on behalf of clients who have been abused or harassed by their employers, co-stars, show hosts, and members of the production team on:

  • Television shows
  • News shows
  • Press junkets
  • Commercials
  • Game shows

Fighting for survivors in the music industry

California is home to more than 80 different studios and recording companies, and close to 100 different record labels. Some of the biggest names in music make their homes on the West Coast.

And some of those names are sexual predators.

For many reasons, however, the music industry has not seen the same kind of pushback that the film and television industries have. Per USA TODAY:

“[T]he sexual harassment reckoning currently empowering women and men to speak up isn’t as loud in pop music. Experts say this could be due to several factors. Among them:  The music industry’s history of sordid behavior characterized by the slogan “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll”; the sexualization of females entering the industry; the competitive nature of pop music; and a lack of females in leadership/mentoring positions….

‘Part of the issue is that the music industry has for well over a century been in the business of exploiting musicians,’ says [Alan Williams, professor at the University of Massachusetts]. ‘In the world of publishing, that term is used explicitly — ‘exploiting’ a copyright. Thus, musicians of any gender start from a place of disempowerment.’”

Whether you work in the studio, in an office, or on a stage, you deserve an attorney who will fight for you. Survivors of sexual assault in the music industry deserve the same respect and commitment that survivors in other areas of entertainment have received. We won’t let you down.

Sexual harassment is prevalent in the entertainment industry

The news tends to cover stories about sexual assault and rape, but sexual harassment is just as common. If your employer, co-star, agent, manager, or anyone involved in your career has implied that you “owe” them something for helping you, that person has created a hostile work environment.

Often, our clients have come to us asking if they are, indeed, victims of harassment. They tell us they are uncomfortable, or at times feel unsafe, but they don’t want to “make waves.” After all, “everybody goes through it,” right?

Wrong. Sexual harassment is illegal, no matter what industry you work in. Any and all of these actions could be acts of sexual harassment:

  • Constant touching or unwanted flirting
  • Sexually suggestive comments
  • Forcing you to take sexually suggestive photos (for a professional shoot, or otherwise)
  • Constant comments about your looks, body parts, and/or weight
  • Forcing you to wear suggestive clothing for promotion reasons
  • Sending or requesting photos or videos
  • Threatening to release those videos or photos online, or to paparazzi
  • Leaving inappropriate comments on your social media pages
  • Making “jokes” or telling stories about you and your personal life

Do I really need a California sexual assault lawyer?

If you have been a victim of abuse or harassment in the film, TV, or music industry, you need an attorney who can represent your best interests. Trying to fight against the system on your own can be terrifying. It is in your best interest to hire a lawyer.

Our attorneys respect your right to privacy

Our Los Angeles sexual assault lawyers routinely handle high-profile, high-conflict cases, and we understand that you value your privacy. As such, we perform a number of services to help keep your name out of the spotlight. We will:

  • Handle all press conferences, media requests, and interviews
  • Keep your name confidential in court filings whenever it is legally possible to do so
  • Ensure all settlement negotiations are kept under wraps, if you choose to settle
  • Help you find a place to stay if you wish to avoid being photographed
  • Work with your agent or manager to monitor and respond to social media posts, if applicable

If you decide to speak publicly in a lawsuit, know that we are not afraid to take on high-profile companies and entities on your behalf.

Determining the liable parties

Aside from the perpetrator him or herself, other parties may be liable if you were sexually assaulted, too. We represent survivors in claims against:

  • The production companies
  • The production teams
  • Your agency
  • R. departments
  • The owners of the studio
  • The security companies
  • The record labels
  • Your publicist
  • Your manager
  • Your co-workers

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Fighting for sexual abuse survivors throughout California

Taylor & Ring has successfully represented victims of sexual abuse, assault, and harassment in California for close to 20 years. If you work in television, film, or music, or any part of the entertainment industry, we want to help you tell your story. To schedule a free consultation at our Los Angeles office, please call 310.776.6390 or complete our contact form. If you cannot travel to us, we can travel to you.

Contact Us310-209-4100