"All the Truth I Could Tell": A Discussion of Title VII's Potential Impact on Systemic Entertainment Industry Victimization
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"All the Truth I Could Tell": A Discussion of Title VII's Potential Impact on Systemic Entertainment Industry Victimization

  • Author(s): Breeland, Nikki R.
  • et al.
Abstract

There has been a distinct rise in sexual assault allegations within the entertainment industry in recent years.  The culture of the industry, the nature of entertainment contracts, and the abuse of the nondisclosure agreement are to blame for this rampant abuse of vulnerable entertainers.  This Article focuses on the contractual prisons in which sexually abused entertainers find themselves when they attempt to part ways with their employers.  Using prevailing equitable remedies in conjunction with the feminist contract theory of context and subjectivity can help alleviate some of the pressure on abused entertainers attempting to “breach” their contracts.  While Title VII has been used in the employment law context, it has yet to be applied in the context of entertainment contracts.  Using this novel approach, Title VII can put entertainment-based employers on the defensive by allowing intentional sexual torts to count as the first contract breach.  One thing is for certain: something must be done to combat this culture of sexual assault within the entertainment industry.[1]

[1].        “The recent revelations have proven that society must examine the persistent sexual harassment issue that has plagued women in some of the country’s most important industries.  The first step to tackling the problem, though, must be addressing the contractual traps that are used to silence women and obscure the pattern of abuse.  This Article uses feminist legal theory to shift the conversation, challenging how we’re characterizing ‘wrongdoing’ and ‘breaches.’  It is an important contribution to a vital national conversation.”  Statement by Stacey Lantagne, Professor of Law, University of Mississippi School of Law, Oxford, Mississippi (Jan. 24, 2018).

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