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December 14, 2015

Wasteland/Sssh Owners Create Performer 'Bill of Rights'

CYBERSPACE—The controversy surrounding the allegations that actor James Deen sexually assaulted several women both in and out of the industry is not going away anytime soon, and in its wake, several adult producers have spoken out about the situation and some have even changed their on-set policies to head off any similar problems that might crop up in the future. One of the best such policy documents is the creation of Angie and Colin Rowntree, the creators of women-friendly erotica site Sssh.com and BDSM -themed Wasteland.com. "At Sssh and Wasteland, our goal is to make you feel comfortable and safe as a performer and to provide you an enjoyable work environment on each and every shoot," the pair posted recently on the Sssh.com website under the title "On-Set Policies and Best Practices." "While making our movies is a professional endeavor and we take it seriously, we also want you to have fun." While several of that document's 14 specific points mirror the common practices of many adult industry producers, this may be the first time that a comprehensive list of such practices has been published within the industry, though several are contained in Free Speech Coalition's Code of Ethics. Among the strategies presented in the Sssh/Wasteland document that adult producers who don't already do so would do well to adopt on their own sets are the following: • "We will never ask a performer to do something that hasn’t been negotiated beforehand. As a performer, you ALWAYS have the absolute right to say 'no'—even if what you're saying no to is something you've already agreed to." • "We are always open to suggestions and changes to any storyline, skit or scene. We want you to 'own your part,' and we love to hear feedback on how we can make your character stronger, better, and true to life." • "We want your chemistry with your scene partner to shine through, so if you’re not shooting with your 'real life partner,' let's talk and find a good match. If there's someone you've always wanted to work with but never had the opportunity, we'll reach out to them and try to bring them on board." •"If you are not working with your real life partner, you have the right to see all STI tests prior to sexual contact." But even beyond those 14 "guiding principles," the Rowntrees also promise that, "When you shoot with us, you will have an on-set advocate at all times. Regardless of what was pre-negotiated, your advocate will call 'pause' if you exhibit signs of being distressed, uncomfortable or if the advocate is concerned for any reason. Shooting will only resume after a check-in with you, and after both you and the advocate consent to continuing." Also, to make sure that everyone is on the same page, the Rowntrees conduct pre- and post-shoot interviews with the performers to assure that they (and, if necessary, others) know what will be happening during the shoot and that the performers have agreed to the shooting conditions beforehand, and afterwards, that everything went well and hopefully as planned. To see this comprehensive "performer bill of rights," click here. Pictured: Colin Rowntree on set with adult actress.

 
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