RSS Feed

Posts Tagged ‘contract law’

  1. Advancing the Client’s Interests In Contract: Delicacy & Nudity Riders

    April 18, 2023 by lowens

    By Raisa Choudhury

    Raisa Choudhury, CDC Fellow Fall 2022

    In the mid-2000s, True Crime had the idea to put together an episodic television series titled “Femme Fatales.” They offered the lead role in an episode titled “Jailbreak,” to Anne Greene after she auditioned for the role. Green accepted and signed an employment agreement, along with a personal release and a nudity rider. A year after she completed her obligations to the show, Greene filed a lawsuit against True Crime claiming that they sexually harassed her, caused her intentional inflictions of emotional distress, and were negligent in fully disclosing the facts surrounding her role. In a surprising turn of events, True Crime filed a cross-complaint alleging Greene breached the express terms of the nudity rider by refusing “to appear and perform in nude scenes and/or simulated lovemaking scenes,” thereby causing them to incur additional expenses and delay in shooting.

    So, what is a nudity rider and what is it comprised of? A nudity rider is a separate document from the employment contract that sets out the levels of nudity the receiving party is expected to undergo and the actions that they will be expected to perform. The intention behind a nudity rider is to protect both parties by setting clear boundaries on what will be done and providing future evidence that any videography or photography was obtained consensually. Nudity riders have specific descriptions of the amount of skin shown during the agreed-upon session and they require the receiving party to consent to the stipulations. Depending on the situation, a nudity rider may also stipulate how the photos and videos that are taken from the session can be used.

    Essentially, the aim of writing a nudity rider is to prevent any misunderstandings or future legal disputes. For example, in Greene’s case, her lawsuit was deemed frivolous by the courts because she signed the nudity rider, and the rider disclosed in detail the amount of skin that would be shown on video. This clearly shows the importance of nudity riders and their role in protecting drafters from vulnerability to claims of sexual harassment.

    So, the question then becomes, why is a separate document necessary to draft a nudity clause? Is it not easier to simply have a nudity clause in the main employment contract? To answer these questions, it is important to note what the purpose of contracts is. A contract is an agreement between parties, creating mutual obligations that are enforceable by law. Once signed, this contractual agreement forms a promise that certain rights and obligations will be fulfilled by each party. In essence, a promise and a meeting of the minds are at the heart of every contract. A well-drafted contract provides certainty, clarity, and protection if problems arise in the future. While the details described in nudity clauses can be added to main employment contracts, the sensitivity and delicacy surrounding a person being filmed or photographed in a vulnerable position make it improper to do so.

    Contracts form promises between two willing parties, and it would be a disservice to both parties if the gravity of a person being filmed in nude or semi-nude positions is not expressed. By having a detailed description of what the receiving party is expected to do in a nudity rider, a correct amount of importance and consideration is placed on it before the receiving party signs off on the contract.

  2. Advances in Contract Law: Protecting Hollywood’s Naughty Little Sisters

    April 14, 2023 by lowens

    By Stefanie Grimando

    Stefanie Grimando, CDC Fellow Fall 2022

    If you’re involved in directing or shooting media, you’ll likely encounter nudity in some fashion. Most photographers or filmmakers will eventually have to implement a nudity rider to accompany consent agreements.

    Models and actors have to consent to what they’ll do during their performance, and great detail goes into how much—if any—nudity they will allow to be filmed or photographed. A consent agreement is a legal contract governing a relationship where one party gives informed consent to participate in an activity. In terms of Hollywood sex scenes, how do directors and actors come to an agreement? Nudity rider incoming! This contract addition could be as simple as not allowing nudity whatsoever or may allow shots of particular body parts or a body double. The nudity rider spells out just how much skin an actor will show, before filming or even auditioning occurs. Success is telling—major celebrities have more freedom to decline work that they don’t agree to do, whereas relatively unknown actors may not have the same liberties if they want to secure as much work as they can. Where Hollywood starlets are protected by SAG-AFTRA, which states “the appearance of a performer in a nude or sex scene or the doubling of a performer in such a scene shall be conditioned upon his or her prior written consent,” adult film stars are often left unprotected by some higher power. If Anne Hathaway can decline to film a racy birth scene, can Sasha Grey decline anal sex if it’s not specifically outlined in her contract? Why should Ms. Grey feel obligated to hire an attorney or agent when a union could specialize in her line of work? 

    The Screen Actors Guild represents upwards of 160,000 actors, journalists, dancers, singers, and other media professionals. With SAG formed in the 1930s and pornography having been officially invented in the early 1800s, why is it that when I search “porn” on SAG-AFTRA’s FAQ page, it yields no results? Are adult film actors not worthy of union protection such as those of the likes of Bill Cosby or George Takei? Maybe Hollywood doesn’t want to admit that actors performing on the other side of Mulholland Drive deserve the same protections as its A-List celebrities. So the adult film industry needs to take matters into its own hands. Historically, Hollywood has neglected to associate its movie stars with its adult film actors. Advocates for adult film actors’ rights argue that SAG should create a branch specifically catered to adult film actors. The mainstream entertainment industry ought to recognize adult media stars as performers worthy of legitimate protections, of empowerment. Where Sharon Stone’s Hollywood success could be attributed to her Basic Instinct nudity, perhaps adult film actors should be given more credit. Where all entertainers strive to earn a living, perhaps it is time SAG caters to adult film actors, offering them union protection. Destigmatize sexual expression. Protect the rights and freedoms of adult industry performers. Next stop: the decriminalization of sex work, stereotypes be damned.

Skip to toolbar