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.