Friday, October 29, 2010

What the Hobbit Enabling Act means

Over on the Hand Mirror, Maia points out what the Hobbit Enabling Act really means: protecting the "right" of film producers to grope 16-year old girls, then sack them if they complain:

She is 16 years old and she's an actress. Her friends may perform in school plays, but she is an actress - she has a job. She's in a TV show.

Today she is in wardrobe. One of the producers comes in - someone always checks the costumes. He touches her breast.

She tells her parents and her agent. They ring up the producers; they're angry. Her contract is terminated that day - breach of confidentiality - she talked about being sexually harrassed. By the next day the scripts have all been rewritten

I didn't make that up. It happened on a New Zealand film set this century.

Employment law includes numerous protections to prevent these sorts of abuses of power. Removing those protections enables those abuses - and the abusers. But its not just sexual harassment it enables. Its not just the casting couch. The law will also allow employers in the film industry to sack people who complain about health and safety, sack people for being pregnant, sack people for being gay or Catholic or getting a divorce. And the employee - sorry, "contractor" - will have no real recourse in any of those situations.

This is an unfair, abusive law. It enables unfair, abusive behaviour by employers. And if its the price of keeping The Hobbit in New Zealand, sorry, but that price is simply too high.