Emily Meade explains changing consent culture in media industry

Emily Meade, pictured above at a red carpet New York premiere of HBO’s “The Deuce,” spoke to The Panther about the change in Hollywood after the rise of movements such as the #MeToo and Time’s Up. While filming “The Deuce,” Meade advocated for an intimacy coordinator. Photo by Laurence Agron

Sexual harassment in the entertainment industry is no secret, due to the rising number of women coming forward to tell their stories surrounding sexual misconduct. But Hollywood is making changes to combat sexual misconduct and issues of consent. Emily Meade, an actress for HBO’s “The Deuce,” called for an intimacy coordinator during her five years filming the show. Meade will be at Chapman Nov. 13, in a discussion hosted by Creating a Rape-free Environment for Students (C.A.R.E.S.), to discuss her journey of sexual advocacy and creating a culture change in the film and television industry to a climate of consent.

Meade was able to get an intimacy coordinator, a person who looks out for actors’ well-being when participating in intimate scenes, such as sex scenes, while filming for “The Deuce.” It not only changed dynamics on set, but also in all HBO shows. After the request from Meade, HBO announced it would have intimacy coordinators on all sets of shows that required intimate scenes, a positive change for many in the industry like Meade.

“You can focus on your job and be able to focus on your creativity and acting your part, since there is someone to look after you,” Meade told The Panther.

“The Deuce” is a television series that focus on New York City during the 1970s and includes topics such as prostitution and the porn industry. The show wrapped up in Aug. 2019.

“It was hard,” Meade said about her role in the series. “It was about a prostitute being mistreated and it could get very dark at times with lots of sex scenes, but it also had humor. I loved working with the people that I worked with.”

The changes in the industry come after allegations against Harvey Weinstein were published by The New York Times in 2017. Many more women came forward after the reports against entertainment moguls including Bill Cosby and Kevin Spacey. This made room for movements such as #MeToo and Time’s Up. The #MeToo movement advocates for the end of sexual violence. Time’s Up was created by women in Hollywood after the allegations against Weinstein. It aims to create a safe and equal workplace for women.

Meade described the change in the industry as “night and day,” and attributes it to both movements.

“The change of having coordinators — people being more aware of their own actions — there is some fear and nervousness, but it can be good,” Meade said.

The industry has a lot of sexualization, according to Meade, who has been sexualized since she began her career.

Meade also mentioned encountered issues with consent and boundaries during her time in the industry.

“If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have come up with the idea of a coordinator,” Meade said.

Meade will further discuss the changing culture of the entertainment industry around sex, consent and boundaries in Memorial Hall on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m., C.A.R.E.S. will also hosts its annual Clothesline Project.