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SAG-AFTRA Opens Membership to Accredited Intimacy Coordinators, ‘Essential’ Members of Production

"The National Board is committed to bringing intimacy coordinators into the SAG-AFTRA family and ensuring they have the kind of benefits and protections other members already enjoy," SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher stated.

Bridgerton. (L to R) Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in episode 205 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022

“Bridgerton” Season 2

LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

The SAG-AFTRA National Board confirmed intimacy coordinators will be included in union membership.

The Wrap reported that SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher called intimacy coordinators an “essential on-set resource for cast and crew alike” on productions. The announcement comes approximately one month since SAG-AFTRA released a registry and pre-registry of accredited intimacy coordinators for film and TV productions to use in love scenes and sequences featuring nudity.

“The role of intimacy coordinators greatly improves safety and well-being on sets and in productions requiring intimate scenes,” Fran Drescher stated. “Their value is immeasurable and the National Board is committed to bringing intimacy coordinators into the SAG-AFTRA family and ensuring they have the kind of benefits and protections other members already enjoy.”

Per The Wrap, SAG-AFTRA’s goal is to build the base of intimacy coordinators to a level that they will become available to all productions, and they are well on their way to becoming industry standard in Hollywood.

The SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland added, “Intimacy coordinators, many of whom already are SAG-AFTRA members, have become an essential on-set resource for cast and crew alike. This decision furthers our mission of making on-set safety an industrywide standard and priority, and welcomes other talented, dedicated workers to join us.”

As of June 2022, 40 intimacy coordinators have been approved for SAG-AFTRA’s registry, with five additional coordinators on the pre-registry, which lists those who have met the guild’s standards but are still working toward the required 60 days of work experience for full accreditation.

For productions like “Bridgerton” and “Sex Education,” intimacy coordinators are akin to stunt coordinators on set. In 2020, SAG-AFTRA issued new rules for sex scenes with coordinators, including mandated meetings with the director and executive producers for respective projects to determine “the degree of nudity and specifics of simulated sex.

Actresses Sharon Stone, Alicia Vikander, Kim Cattrall, and more have addressed the need for intimacy coordinators on set.

“The Deuce” intimacy coordinator Alicia Rodis was a founding member of Intimacy Directors and Coordinators, the leading organization for intimacy professionals in the entertainment industry that worked with SAG-AFTRA to implement industry-wide standards that will universalize protection for actors during the filming of intimate scenes.

“Once Alicia started doing her job, it was incredibly liberating. It wasn’t limiting, it was the opposite,” showrunner David Simon exclusively told IndieWire. “It was, ‘Now we know what we’re chasing and we have all the tools to do it while giving everybody their space and dignity.’ She understood what we had to get and why, and then she was trying to get the actors there in a way that felt comfortable. So I’m never working without an intimacy coordinator ever again.”

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