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As a result of the #MeToo campaign in Hollywood, TV channel giant HBO, on Thursday, confirmed to have hired Alicia Rodis as the Intimacy Coordinator. Rodis is the associate director of Intimacy Directors International—a nonprofit that strives to normalise a “high standard for directing intimacy and sexual violence to prevent abuse and harassment.”

This initiative started when Actress Emily Meade, who is playing the character of a sex worker turned porn star in a series called “The Deuce”. This raised the conversation around having an “advocate purely for the sexual scenes” on sets. She spoke about it to the show’s producers and creator. Then the show’s officials brought Rodis into the picture who counselled the cast and crew of “The Deuce” during the second season.

When the pilot show aired and became a super hit, then HBO confirmed that every set will now compulsorily have an intimacy coordinator during any and all sexually intimate moments for all of its television series and films.

“When it comes to sexuality, which is one of the most vulnerable things for all humans, men and women, there’s really no system,” Meade said in an interview on the network’s website. “There’s never been a person required to be there to protect and bring expertise.”

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Meade said that an intimacy coordinator during a sexual scene on the set is equal to having a stunt coordinator during action sequences. “It’s just having someone other than yourself to think about it,” Meade told Rolling Stone. “Left to your own devices you’re just sort of doing what you do in real life. And that’s a problem if you don’t want it to feel like real life.”

It’s just having someone other than yourself to think about it. Left to your own devices you’re just sort of doing what you do in real life. And that’s a problem if you don’t want it to feel like real life. -Emily Meade

An intimacy coordinator essentially does small but essential activities on the set like giving a performer something to cover their private parts, knee pads, mouth spray or flavoured lubricant, etc. For Rodis, it is important to differentiate the “sexuality between the characters and what’s actually happening between the actors,” with consent always in mind.

“I am here to give a voice to actors, especially actors who feel like they don’t have one. And I’m also here for the producers, to make sure that they know they’re doing their best to make sure the set is safe,” Rodis told the outlet. “Here we are a year after #MeToo and Brett Kavanaugh sits on the Supreme Court. Donald Trump is our president. Now, tell me we don’t need this — that we don’t have a culture that requires change.”

This is one of the biggest achievements of the movement that opened the floodgates of revelations of sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry in the West. What it has done is initiate bring up of systemic change that would actually tackle sexual abuse in the film industry.

Picture credit: HB Studio

More Stories by Poorvi Gupta

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