#MeToo Hits Movie Deals: Studios Race to Add ‘Morality Clauses’ to Contracts

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Illustration by: Zohar Lazar

Reprinted from The Hollywood Reporter by Tatiana Siegel on February 7, 2018.

Moral turpitude? It’s a concept that showbiz talent soon will be well-acquainted with. The term, which means “an act or behavior that gravely violates the sentiment or accepted standard of the community,” is popping up in contracts of actors and filmmakers in the wake of the #MeToo movement that has rocked Hollywood.

Fox is just one of the studios that is trying to insert broad morality clauses into its talent deals, giving it the ability to terminate any contract “if the talent engages in conduct that results in adverse publicity or notoriety or risks bringing the talent into public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule.”

A Paramount source says it long has had standards of conduct that it asks employees and talent to adhere to and that it’s reviewing its approach in the new era. At the same time, several smaller distributors have begun to add a clause in their longform contracts that gives them an out if a key individual in a film — whether during or before the term of the contract — committed or is charged with an act considered under state or federal laws to be a felony or crime of moral turpitude. …

THR 2/7

About Jeffrey Burman 2960 Articles
Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.

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