WIA partners with independent studios to craft anti-harassment pledge

Women in Animation (WIA) has come together with a group of independent studios to take an anti-harassment pledge named ASAP, affirming that there is no tolerance for harassment in the workplace.

The pledge has already been adopted by OddBot, Six Point Harness, Titmouse, Bento Box Entertainment, Counter Punch Studios, Duncan Studio, Incessant Rain Animation Studios, Renegade Animation, Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, Tonko House and Wild Canary Animation. A studio that commits to ASAP, will get the pledge counter-signed by each and every employee.

In 2017, WIA brought together many animation studio heads in Los Angeles for discussions about the safety in working environments after more than 200 women and gender non-conforming people in the industry, wrote an open letter against sexual harassment. That resulted in Animation Studio Anti-Harassment Pledge (ASAP), which commits the studios to provide safe and equitable work environments free of discrimination and harassment.

“Studio heads recognise that there is always more that can be done to educate our community and create enforceable policies that protect their employees. To extend this pledge to the entire animation industry, we will share it with all studios to encourage them to adopt it or some form of it, expanding the web of safety even further,” added WIA president Marge Dean.

The pledge outlines,“We will not tolerate discrimination and any form of unlawful harassment, including but not limited to sexual harassment. We understand that we all have a responsibility to ensure that each of our studios is safe for all employees and independent contractors.”

OddBot president Chris Hamilton said,“This pledge establishes a code of behaviour for all employees and a vow from studio leaders to enforce it. When employees move from one indie studio to another the same pledge will be waiting for them to sign in their new workplace, promoting a consistent net of zero-tolerance that stretches across the indie animation community.”

The pledge further defines harassment as, “unwanted conduct on the grounds of race, gender, sexual orientation which has the purpose or effect of either violating the claimant’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. Harassment is against state, federal and local laws even if it’s of a sexual nature, gender harassment and harassment based on pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition.”

“The indie animation studios in Los Angeles are tight knit. Having come together in the past to address industry issues, we knew we could collaborate and act decisively in response to that letter. WIA is proud to be part of the kind of change that will have a lasting effect on how women and non-conforming people are treated in our business. I sincerely hope all studio owners, large and small, are aligned in these efforts,” quoted Six Point Harness owner and WIA treasurer Brendan Burch.

Adding to Burch’s comment, Titmouse president and founder Chris Prynoski and co-founder and VP Shannon Prynoski said, “Complementing our longstanding commitment to foster a creative, fun and safe working environment, we’re glad to stand with our animation colleagues in supporting the WIA anti-harassment pledge. It’s more than just the right thing to do. We feel fortunate to be surrounded by strong, talented and brave humans who speak up even when it’s hard so that collectively we can uphold this important code of conduct.”