Netflix crews told not to look at each other for more than 5 seconds in #MeToo crackdown
Fair enough, or a step too far?
As we’re all well-aware, the star of one of Netflix’s biggest shows, Kevin Spacey in House of Cards, was fired in disgrace after facing a stream of sexual misconduct allegations.
The streaming service also cancelled its second Louis C.K. stand-up special after the comedian apologised for sexual misconduct in November, according to Forbes, and it wrote star Danny Masterson out of its comedy series The Ranch following rape accusations against him, which he has denied.
In the wake of the important #MeToo movement, entertainment companies across the board began to reassess their employment policies and looked at what they were doing to prevent sexual harassment.
“Everyone was spoken to about #MeToo,” an on-set runner working on the new season of Netflix show Black Mirror reportedly told The Sun.
“Senior staff went to a harassment meeting to learn what is and isn’t appropriate. Looking at anyone longer than five seconds is considered creepy.
“You mustn’t ask for someone’s number unless they have given permission for it to be distributed. And if you see any unwanted behaviour, report it immediately.”
Now, it’s no surprise that a bunch of gammony, right-wing types have reacted with fake outrage to the news of Netflix’s policy.
“This is completely ridiculous and could end up hurting more than it helps,” the conservative site National Review whinged.
But when you think about it, staring at someone for five seconds is actually really awkward. You should try it with a friend – ask them if you can stare at them and then gaze directly into their eyeballs for a full five seconds. It’s too long.
And as for not harassing people for their numbers and reporting unwanted behaviour, this is just bog-standard common sense.
In a statement, Netflix declined to confirm or deny the report, but told ShortList: “We’re proud of the anti-harassment training we offer to our productions. We want every Netflix production to be a safe and respectful working environment. We believe the resources we offer empower people on our sets to speak up, and shouldn’t be trivialised.”
As we’ve seen with the shocking and widespread revelations of abuse from the #MeToo revolution, you can’t ever really be too careful when it comes to making a safe, comfortable workplace.