Following the premiere of #ThatsHarassment – the new video series produced by David Schwimmer depicting sexual harassment in the workplace – Cosmopolitan.com hosted a panel yesterday with Schwimmer, director Sigal Avin, and Milk Studios (where the series was shot) founder and creative director Mazdack Rassi to discuss the project.
Below are some highlights of what we learned from the event.
Throughout the week, Cosmopolitan.com has also featured a number of interviews with actors who star in the series – including Cynthia Nixon, Emmy Rossum, Grace Gummer and Cristela Alonzo – on their personal experiences with sexual harassment and why they wanted to get involved in the project. You can visit www.cosmopolitan.com/thats-harassment to read all of the features from the series.
During auditions for the part of the model in “The Photographer” (which eventually went to newcomer Anna Van Patten), multiple hopefuls revealed similar experiences of harassment.
Schwimmer said about 90 percent of the models who actually auditioned said this happened to them. “That was a revelation.”
The film series has inspired a heated but healthy discussion online.
“There was one discussion [about ‘The Photographer’] where somebody said, ‘I’m very glad people are doing #ThatsHarassment project, but that’s too much. Who does that?'” Avin recalled. “And then a model jumped in and said, ‘This is nothing compared to what I’ve been through.’ [The first person] took it back and said she was sorry and was shocked to see that had happened.”
The Friends set was “one of the better ones.”
“Our set was really, pretty cool… I think that’s in part because of who we were as actors, and the executive producers on the show were not going to let anything like that happen. On other shows and other sets, it was worse.”
Reporting harassment on social media is not always an option.
“The reality is there’s still fear of retaliation,” Schwimmer says. “There’s going to be some kind of repercussion … If you post it to social media, bye bye to your job. Am I right? It’s often a he-said-she-said. How do you prove this? We’re trying to get at the culture and generate as much awareness, for men, as well. We just feel like men have trouble really understanding where the line is.”
You can watch the full panel and read more here.