California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed three new bills into law that aim to protect child actors from sexual harassment and abuse while on set. Newsom previously signed Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez' bill in 2019 that extends the amount of time victims have to file a lawsuit against their childhood sexual abusers, which was applauded by child-protection advocates. The California governor is getting more applause today for taking three more critical steps in protecting children on the sets of Hollywood productions.
The first of the new bills to protect child actors, Assembly Bill 3175, requires parents/guardians, along with the children to take a sexual harassment training online through the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The training has to be done by the minor with a parent or legal guardian present in order to certify to the Labor Commissioner that the training has been completed. The goal is to give the actors education about sexual harassment prevention, retaliation, and reporting resources.
As for the second bill Gavin Newsom signed into law today, it works as a modification to California's Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act. The Assembly Bill 1963 aims to add a human resource representative to an organization with five or more employees. The goal is to have someone on set that can report "incidents of child abuse or neglect that they have observed or reasonably suspect." In addition, it will make sure that all employees on the set are mandated reporters, meaning that if they see something or sense something is going on, they are liable to report it to law enforcement, if necessary. Employees will also have to be trained through Assembly Bill 3175.
The final bill Gavin Newsom signed into law is Assembly Bill 3369. This particular bill will provide exemptions to new employers who have gone through the above training within two years. The same works for minors who have gone through the proper training from AB 3175. "We believe in the prevention of child abuse and sexual harassment," said Anne Henry, co-founder of Bizparentz Foundation, which advocates on behalf of child actors. "We believe these three bills move toward that goal."
Previous bills tried to accomplish what the three new bills Gavin Newsom just signed into law, but they were not able to be implemented. Many in the industry will see this as paving the way for more laws to protect minors on the Hollywood sets from sexual harassment and abuse, which is something actor Corey Feldman has been advocating for for decades. Feldman has been incredibly open about his own experiences as a child actor growing up in Hollywood, so one has to assume that he will be pretty happy about Governor Newsom's decision to sign these three new bills. Deadline was the first to report on California Governor Gavin Newsom's new assembly bills that protect minors on Hollywood production sets.