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HBO is Hiring “Intimacy Coordinators” for All of Its Sex Scenes
HBO announced that it’s hiring “intimacy coordinators” to supervise each one of the network’s numerous sex scenes. They’ll serve as advocates for the actors, relaying their concerns to directors and ensuring that performers are comfortable—and appropriately covered up—during filming.
Rolling Stone reports that the move was instigated by The Deuce actor Emily Meade, whose role as a prostitute requires her to do sex scenes. Last year, as the #MeToo movement was reshaping Hollywood, Meade demanded that the network hire an advocate who would help protect her during filming. HBO brought on Alicia Rodis, cofounder of Intimacy Directors International, to work on The Deuce. Now, they’re expanding the role across the network:
In practical terms, Rodis is a mediator among actors, directors, producers and crew. She reviews scripts, facilitates group discussions about the sex scenes they’re going to film and meets with actors individually. When new or tweaked sex scenes are added to a day’s shoot, she is often the one to break the news to an actor, checking in to clarify what their personal boundaries are — to make sure, as she puts it, “consent is informed and certain before we move forward.” Then she advocates for the actors in discussions with the production team.
“It’s not the things [she does] that are so radical,” Meade says. “It’s just having someone other than yourself to think about it. It shouldn’t be a radical concept to give someone something to cover their private parts. But to have someone do it at all — the gesture of it — it helps.”
HBO has been criticized for including gratuitous rape scenes in shows like Game of Thrones and Westworld. While the hiring of intimacy coordinators like Rodis isn’t intended to shape the content of the network’s programming, it’ll hopefully make the sets safer for all actors involved. “Here we are a year after #MeToo and Brett Kavanaugh sits on the Supreme Court. Donald Trump is our president,” Rodis told Rolling Stone. “Now, tell me we don’t need this — that we don’t have a culture that needs to still be changed.”