SAG-AFTRA Sets Accreditation Program for Intimacy Coordinators

Gene Maddaus
·3-min read

SAG-AFTRA unveiled an accreditation program and a registry for intimacy coordinators on Thursday, as part of the union’s broader efforts to combat sexual harassment on set.

The union has been involved in standardizing the intimacy coordinator profession since 2019. In January 2020, the union issued guidelines for intimacy coordinators, including standards for how to communicate with actors before filming explicit scenes, details of nudity riders, and closed-set protocols.

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The new accreditation system would set minimum standards for training programs for intimacy coordinators. SAG-AFTRA will also create a registry for intimacy coordinators who exceed minimum levels of experience and training. Alicia Rodis, the in-house intimacy coordinator at HBO, said at a press conference that about 30-60 people who are working today would meet the standards for the registry, but that the profession is growing quickly.

“What we are doing now is really setting the standard,” Rodis said. “So as this grows we know what standard we are setting things at.”

Training programs can apply for accreditation from May 1 through July 31. Applicants who want to be on the intimacy coordinator registry can submit from Aug. 1 through Oct. 31.

Training programs must be led by someone with at least 200 days of work experience as an intimacy coordinator. The program must be at least 75 hours, and SAG-AFTRA will have to approve of the curriculum. Training programs must also commit to diversity and inclusion plans.

To be on the registry, coordinators must show a minimum number of days worked, ramping up from 60 days in 2021 to 100 days in 2023. They must also show training in relevant areas, including anti-harassment training, mental health and trauma. They must also submit to a background check. The union expects the registry to go live by the end of the year.

Amanda Blumenthal, founder of the Intimacy Professionals Association, praised SAG-AFTRA for its work on professionalizing the field.

“We strongly believe that these accreditation standards and the registry will help to create a pipeline of certified professionals dedicated to keeping entertainment industry workers safe,” she said.

David White, the executive director of SAG-AFTRA, said the union will also establish a “pre-registry,” which will be available to those who have not hit the minimum threshold for work experience.

“A lot of people may think they want to do intimacy coordination. They may dabble with it,” White said. “But there are some who may not have hit the qualification of the registry, but they’re very serious about their training. So by establishing a pre-registry, we can give an indication to producers who are trying to figure out who can I bring onto set… We can now distinguish between those who are pretending to do that and those that are serious about it.”

Also on Thursday, SAG-AFTRA announced Safe Place, a web portal and a tool on the union’s app that allows for reporting of sexual harassment on set.

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