Intimacy Coordinators Need Actors’ Consent to Publicly Discuss Sex Scenes, SAG-AFTRA Says

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Intimacy Coordinators Need Actors’ Consent to Publicly Discuss Sex Scenes, SAG-AFTRA Says
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SAG-AFTRA is making sure consent over the filming of intimate scenes extends even after the actors leave the set.

The Guild issued new Standards and Protocols guidelines for intimacy coordinators when discussing their on-set work with actors. Intimacy coordinators must now seek the permission of an actor to publicly share details of their intimate scenes. Failure to do so could mean the intimacy coordinator will be removed from the SAG-AFTRA registry of certified intimacy coordinators following an investigation.

“Intimacy coordinators are a crucial resource on any set to ensure the protection of our members working in intimate scenes,” a SAG-AFTRA spokesperson told Deadline. “Members have to feel safe, comfortable and confident in engaging with intimacy coordinators.”

The updated SAG-AFTRA guidelines per the S&P protocols read: “Intimacy coordinators should maintain the confidentiality of an actor’s work and experience in performing highly sensitive scenes unless they have the actor’s permission to publicly share this information. The public release of details about an actor’s scene work or confidences entrusted to the intimacy coordinator without the performer’s consent is unacceptable.”

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IndieWire has reached out to SAG-AFTRA for additional comment.

The new protocols were outlined days after intimacy coordinator Kristina Arjona gave a viral interview with The Daily Mail about working with actors Jenna Ortega and Martin Freeman in the film “Miller’s Girl.” The two play a student and teacher caught up in a controversial mentorship dynamic. Ortega’s character attempts to seduce her high school professor, played by Freeman, and the duo act out an erotic fantasy sequence that involves a sex scene.

“Miller’s Girl” intimacy coordinator Arjona told the Daily Mail that Ortega was “very sure of what she wanted to do” in the role and gave “continuous consent,” among other details from production.

“There was many, many people throughout this process, engaging with [Jenna] to make sure that it was consistent with what she was comfortable with, and she was very determined and very sure of what she wanted to do,” Arjona said. “Part of my job too is supporting her decisions. I adapt to whatever is the comfort level of my actors, especially on a production like this where there is a large age gap between the actors.”

Arjona said that due to the real-life age difference between Ortega (21) and Freeman (52), she was “hyper-aware” to be “consistently checking in to [make sure] that at no point any of their boundaries being surpassed.”

“For this film, in particular, because of the sensitivity of the content, they had some different variations of how they wanted to shoot these scenes so that audiences could watch them at test screenings to see what was too much,” Arjona said.

Per Deadline, Arjona signed a confidentiality agreement with Lionsgate as an employee of the film and also signed a non-disclosure agreement.

While the role of intimacy coordinators has long been debated, SAG-AFTRA accredited intimacy coordinator training programs in 2022, and 77 individuals are currently listed on the Guild’s registry. However, the Guild does not independently credential or certify intimacy coordinators.


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