[Editor’s Note: The following article includes discussions of sexual harassment and assault. Because of the sensitive nature of their experiences and fears of retaliation, sources for this story have requested anonymity. With their permission, we’ve replaced sources’ names with pseudonyms. All pseudonyms have been marked with an asterisk on first reference.]
While it's been almost a decade since Lily* worked as a day player on the Portland set of the television show Leverage, the darker memories of her time on the job have yet to fade. That includes the on-set sexual harassment she and other women workers say they endured, and an alleged sexual assault by a prominent actor on the TV series.
“It comes up for me on a regular basis,” Lily, who still works in the local production industry, said of the 2013 incident. “That’s my story.”
This isn’t only Lily’s story. Four other women spoke with the Mercury about their experiences of sexual harassment and abuse from actors, as well as high-level crew, while working under the production company that oversaw Leverage and another series, The Librarians, in Portland between 2009 and 2017. These experiences illuminate the systemic problems stemming from a lack of accountability and support for workers on production sets who face harassment by those in positions of power. The stories reveal how in Portland, and other smaller urban areas that have become thriving areas for film and TV production, set workers can find it uniquely challenging to protect themselves from workplace harassment and retaliation.
The TNT show Leverage was shot in the Portland area between 2009 to 2012, beginning with the series’ second season. The crime-drama follows a ragtag group of underdogs who come together to fight the injustices being inflicted upon everyday people by those in power.
At the time, the production was hailed for creating more than 200 jobs by choosing to move shooting from Los Angeles to Portland.
“The city has everything to offer that a big city can offer, but Portland still has the heart and soul of a small town,” said Dean Devlin, the show’s executive producer, in 2009.
Devlin, working under the production company Electric Entertainment which he founded and currently serves as CEO, was a producer on both Leverage and the subsequent TNT show The Librarians, which was also shot in Portland from 2013 to 2017.
Both Leverage and The Librarians were canceled following declining ratings. However, a revival of the former series called Leverage: Redemption recently aired on the streaming service IMDb TV, and has since been renewed for a second season.
While the reboot retains some of its former actors, the production itself has moved to New Orleans. However, the alleged harm inflicted by the original series, as well as The Librarians, lingers with Portland’s community of production workers.
REPORTS OF HARASSMENT
Rose* started working in Portland in 2011 on Leverage. She worked her way up in the series’ costume department and was later employed on the set of The Librarians.
It was during her time with The Librarians that Rose began to hear stories from women on set about harassment from the show’s lead actor Christian Kane. She says she didn’t encounter it herself from the actor until 2016.
Rose describes a situation on set where Kane had to do a “quick change,” which required him to walk out of frame, rapidly adjust his clothes, and return into the frame without cutting.
“We had tear-away pants for Christian and the gag was that he changed his pants very quickly,” Rose recalled. “He walks through one door then comes out another door with different pants on.”
This required three members of the crew to help Kane velcro his pants back on from ankle to waist.
“We were all on our knees, velcroing Christian’s pants back on and he made a comment in front of the whole crew, like, ‘Hey, guys, while you’re down there…,’” Rose recalls. “That’s the kind of stuff that Christian would do all the time. Just comments about sexual stuff and treating women really poorly.”
Just prior to that incident, Rose was told by another employee that Kane had intentionally pulled a worker’s head toward Kane’s crotch while she was tying his shoe.
Heather*, another production worker on set, said she witnessed the same 2016 head-pulling incident.
It was all part of a broader culture of disrespect towards women that Rose said had taken hold on set.
“There was a general feeling that if you were a woman on set you were fair game for inappropriate jokes, you might get hit on, you might be touched inappropriately,” Rose said. “It was something you would witness happening on set.”
“If your only rapport is this overtly sexual, aggressive behavior then it feels like harassment... it doesn’t feel like a joke.”
For Rose, these incidents felt like the final straw after years of harassment at work.
“I had just reached the end of my rope, to be honest,” Rose said. “I felt like I’d been dealing with it for years and watching it go on. I felt like I was done.”
“Now [Kane] has put his hands on my colleague and within a few days has made a joke about us giving him head in front of the entire crew,” Rose said. “The jokes never seemed funny but now they have a more threatening connotation because he’s actually putting his hands on people.”
In 2016, Rose said she went to the show’s line producer, Phillip Goldfarb, to report her own harassment and the incident she had been informed of where Kane pulled a worker’s head towards his crotch.
“I told Phillip, I said, ‘I need to speak to you about something urgent and very important.’ I then explained to him in detail what Christian Kane had been doing,” Rose recalls. “His response, I remember it clear as day, was ‘Oh jeez.’ Then he said, ‘Okay, let me handle this.’ He then talked to Christian but I was never followed up with. There was no documentation. There was nothing.”
Paul McGuire, a spokesperson for Electric Entertainment, the production company behind both series, said that company leadership remembers the report differently.
“We are aware of a reported incident on The Librarians,” McGuire explained in an email to the Mercury. “However, there was no allegation of pushing anyone’s head or any inappropriate touching—but instead a joke in very poor taste.”
In looking back on her experience, Rose acknowledged that the comment made by Kane was likely one he intended to make as a “joke,” but felt it crossed a line.
“If your only rapport is this overtly sexual, aggressive behavior then it feels like harassment,” Rose said. “It doesn’t feel like a joke.”
McGuire said that Electric Entertainment has no official record of Rose’s complaints being made, yet said management did speak to those involved at the time and “addressed it.” He wouldn’t elaborate on how the incidents were addressed, and it’s not clear what, if any, discipline accompanied these actions.
Rose said she doesn’t recall Goldfarb or any other manager asking if she wanted to make an “official complaint,” but assumed raising the concern was enough.
“My recollection is that I let him know what was going on and that it wasn’t okay,” said Rose. “Obviously, if I’m telling the producer of the show then it already is a complaint in my mind.”
Rose’s thinking is correct, according to Sharyn Tejani, director of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which is administered by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC).
Tejani said workplaces should operate so that “there is no wrong person” to bring a report to and that it should be taken seriously by all supervisors. She said once a supervisor is informed of harassment, they have a responsibility to address it “quickly and thoroughly” with support for those who came forward.
The only change Rose said she noticed on set after making her report was that workers were told to watch a video about sexual harassment, though she said it still lacked key information.
“Even in those videos that we watched,” said Rose, ”I remember looking for [answers to] ‘Who do I talk to? What are the protocols?’”
In an email, McGuire said the training was “not in response to any incident.”
Rose said she felt that no one took the training video seriously after they had all watched it separately.
“At the time when we watched the video, a lot of people were laughing about it,” said Rose. “The takeaway, for a lot of people, was ‘You can do anything once’ because the emphasis on the video was that if someone is being inappropriate and you feel uncomfortable, you have a responsibility to tell that person. If they continue the behavior, then it’s harassment.”
“Instead of taking it seriously, people were making jokes. That’s what we are saying when we say ‘this culture of this behavior.’ Even when we are shown this sexual harassment video, everyone just jokes about it.”
She said that she did once ask fellow workers if there was a human resources (HR) person to talk to about her experiences and that the consensus was there wasn’t, so she went to Goldfarb as producer.
“If, honestly, there was an HR person, he should have directed me to that person,” Rose said.
Rose said she never met anyone from Electric Entertainment’s human resources department during her time working in Portland, something she said was standard in other productions she’d been on in Los Angeles.
“It’s very clear [on other productions] what the protocols are,” said Rose. “There is an HR department, there is an anonymous hotline, there is a safety hotline. There are so many avenues to go down if you feel unsafe in any way. I never felt like anyone at Electric Entertainment really had our back. It felt like a boys’ club and they were protecting their own.”
“There were ten other people that saw that and nobody said anything. I was just like, ‘Well I guess we just have to laugh it off, because that's what you do, right?’ If he’s doing that and nobody’s saying anything, then that’s just what you do.”
Rose wasn’t the only worker who went to Goldfarb with a report of sexual harassment. Olivia*, who worked as a production assistant on The Librarians, said she had talked to the producer about an incident that had happened to her on set in August of 2015.
Olivia said while handing out water to the crew, she was touched on the thigh by camera operator Gary Camp.
“I handed Gary a water and he grabbed my upper thigh and made a tickling noise,” Olivia said. “I laughed it off and walked away. I had never felt so disgusted in my entire life.”
No response was received after multiple attempts to reach Camp for comment over email and phone.
Olivia said what happened to her was in full view of others on set, and others’ non-response left her feeling like she had to deal with it alone.
“There were ten other people that saw that and nobody said anything,” Olivia said. “I was just like, ‘Well I guess we just have to laugh it off, because that's what you do, right?’ If he’s doing that and nobody’s saying anything, then that’s just what you do.”
Later, Olivia said she did decide to come forward after she heard that another worker had reported being grabbed on her rear-end by a separate producer.
“I thought, ‘Well, if she can do that, then maybe I can say that I also felt uncomfortable,’” Olivia said.
Olivia said that she remembers going to talk to Goldfarb in his office and distinctly recalled a comment he made to her.
“I do very specifically remember him saying something along the lines of ‘One woman or person comes forward and then all of a sudden everyone thinks they can come forward,” Olivia said. “I felt this feeling of ‘Oh, I guess that I shouldn’t have said anything and I’m sorry for saying something.’”
The interaction with Goldfarb left Olivia discouraged about taking any further action.
“It definitely made me feel really small and insignificant,” Olivia said. “He was like ‘You can file an official complaint but, you know, it’s like a lot of paperwork and things to go through.’ It was a conversation of ‘Nothing is probably going to come of it, so it’s probably just going to be more work on your end.’ At that point, I was just like ‘Okay, I want things to be over’ and I already felt embarrassed, so I didn’t want to deal with it anymore.”
It felt clear to Olivia that production leaders didn’t want to address her concerns.
“They just seemed like they didn’t want to deal with it,” Olivia said. “Nobody cared. They weren’t on my team.”
Olivia said she hadn’t spoken up to get Camp in trouble—she had just wanted to ensure that what happened to her wouldn’t happen to others on set.
“It’s not like I wanted him to be fired or anything. It wasn’t that,” Olivia said. “It just was weird and I didn’t want anyone else to have to be touched randomly for handing out water.”
Olivia said she never received any follow-up from Goldfarb or producers about any action that had been taken in response to her coming forward.
Goldfarb did not respond to multiple phone calls and email requests from the Mercury.
Olivia has since gone to work in Los Angeles on other productions and said that the environment she experienced in Portland doesn’t happen elsewhere.
“I’ve worked with numerous different crews where things like that just wouldn’t happen. I go to work to do my job and I expect the same respect that I put out there for other people,” Olivia said. “That set, in particular, was a very ‘old Hollywood’ way of being run.”
“I’m really happy that I don’t deal with it now with the crews that I work with.”
“He kissed me up my neck in the middle of set one day... out of nowhere. ...I was in shock. You don’t really know what to do.”
Heather experienced a similar ecosystem on the set of the The Librarians. She said this included what she felt were personal, inappropriate questions directed toward women on the set asked by Kane.
“His trick was that he’d go around and ask women to show him their nails, because he had this theory about a woman’s manicure and their personal private grooming,” Heather said. “It was his weird way of flirting, but just to have that brought up in your workplace was embarrassing.”
Heather said her unwanted interactions with Kane went beyond sexually suggestive comments. She alleges that Kane forcibly kissed her several times in front of her coworkers on set.
“He kissed me up my neck in the middle of set one day. I was just standing there and he came over and he kissed up my neck out of nowhere. It was weird,” she said. “I was in shock. You don’t really know what to do.”
In an email, McGuire said he was “unable to respond” to this incident as there was no complaint made and reiterated the company's original statement.
“We deny any charges of having productions that allowed inappropriate behavior,” McGuire wrote.
Heather didn’t report the incident. She said she felt like she couldn’t do anything in response to what happened for fear of retaliation.
“Even if I hadn’t been in shock, I wouldn’t have said anything,” Heather noted. “If you react badly and that person gets embarrassed and you have to work with them, they can make your life a living hell. So you don’t embarrass them even if they’ve done something incredibly embarrassing of their own accord.”
It all was part of what Heather identified as a culture of “constant” harassment towards women.
“There was a complete lack of respect and over-sexualization of women,” Heather said. “It was ever-present and bad. It just leaches into everything.”
In an email to the Mercury, a spokesperson for Kane said that the actor “strongly denies that there is any truth to these accusations.”
A BOYS' CLUB
Rose says that she felt much of the responsibility for the workplace environment lies with the leadership who she alleged had treated the production as a summer camp atmosphere where they could get away with things they couldn’t elsewhere.
“There is a saying in our industry that ‘What happens on location, stays on location.’ A lot of these men were on location, meaning they don’t live in Portland. They were just working in Portland for however many months and they go back to LA or wherever else they live,” Rose said. “There is already a culture around working on location that there is going to be debauchery and partying.”
Rose said that Dean Devlin, the show's producer, helped create this type of atmosphere.
“It was very clear that there was a boys’ club on that show and it involved Dean,” said Rose. “He didn’t stop it. There was a lot of behavior on set that I know people saw, but then didn’t do anything.”
As an example, Rose pointed to the actions of a man who worked on all of Devlin’s Portland-area productions who was in a position above her.
“From my first week on set, his way of greeting me was kissing me on the mouth and putting his hand around my waist. I noticed shortly after those first few encounters that he wouldn’t do that with everyone. He was selective about it,” Rose said. “He would do it on set, at village, which is behind the monitors where everyone is, including the directors, writers, and producers.”
Rose said she remembered it was part of a power dynamic that she felt “demonstrates this culture” where “no one blinked an eye” when inappropriate conduct was happening.
“It's not something anyone should be doing at work,” Rose said. “That’s the kind of stuff I feel like was happening in front of everyone’s eyes and no one was doing anything.”
She does recall Devlin talking to her and another worker directly about harassment on set.
She said the discussion came in the wake of reports revealing that producer Harvey Weinstein had sexually abused women in the film industry for years.
“I think [Devlin] was addressing… Harvey Weinstein and the MeToo movement that had blown up and had become a topic of conversation,” Rose said. “Suddenly, I think a lot of producers found themselves in the position of ‘We need to make women feel safe because this could blow up in our face.’”
Rose said she wasn’t sure what Devlin’s intentions were with this conversation, though she still had concerns about what message it was sending.
“It didn’t feel as serious as it needed to be, because of the behavior we were all aware of that had been going on for a long time,” Rose said.
According to Rose, Devlin still didn’t explain to her how to make a formal harassment claim on set. Instead, she said he told her that anyone could directly talk to him to report harassment.
“It should have been taken more seriously,” Rose said. “I believe that he knew how inappropriate people were on set, and so to casually talk about this as though it’s not really a problem and, if it is, anyone can just come talk to him, that he wants it to be a safe space—it just was hard to take it seriously.”
In a statement sent to the Mercury, Electric Entertainment’s McGuire said on behalf of Devlin and the company that they take the allegations seriously, “even if they happened a decade ago.” He reiterated that the company said it has never received a formal sexual harassment complaint while working in Portland.
“We have always had avenues for people to alert us to any sexual harassment issues on set, including anonymously, and our best practices have evolved over time which have improved protocols,” McGuire continued. “With that said, we would be very upset to learn that any form of misconduct happened on our sets that we were not aware of, and/or that someone did not feel comfortable enough to report it to us.”
One of the practices the company put in place was an anonymous phone line that was provided through the training, though workers like Heather say they had little faith anything would change and that this was purely done for liability reasons. They feared that reporting would instead make them a target.
“If anybody made a complaint, everybody in the office would find out about it,” Heather said. “It wasn’t safe. No one trusted it.”
“From my first week on set, his way of greeting me was kissing me on the mouth and putting his hand around my waist... he wouldn’t do that with everyone. He was selective about it.”
Another concern for workers such as Heather was that the line was not an internal one associated with an HR department.
“They hired a company to do this, which meant that it was just a company that was being paid by another company—so of course there is no promise of anonymity,” Heather said. “It’s not an internal HR department, it’s not a network, it’s not a state-reporting body.”
An email sent to employees on April 18, 2016 regarding internal reporting procedures that was shared with the Mercury said the company also could not guarantee complete anonymity.
“The investigation of complaints will be confidential to the extent possible, and employees are requested to safeguard the confidentiality of such matters themselves as well,” the email said. “Consistent with our obligation to fully and fairly investigate claims of harassment, we are unable to guarantee complete confidentiality.”
Rose left to find work elsewhere after the show ended.
“I didn’t want to be tied to Electric Entertainment anymore,” Rose said. “I love Portland but it wasn’t worth it. What was happening in Portland at the time was happening in other small television communities around the country that typically aren’t huge entertainment hubs but have this really insular, concentrated community. They get away with way more than you would in LA, New York, or bigger entertainment areas.”
FEARS OF RETALIATION
For Lily, this lack of accountability and potential retaliation meant an environment where higher-ups could easily end an employee’s career for speaking out.
“There is still a big fear of blacklisting,” Lily said. “That’s the problem we, as victims, have about speaking out, because we could get fired for doing that or someone just wouldn’t hire me ever again. It happens.”
Lily said she experienced harassment while working as a day player, a crew member who works on production as needed, throughout Leverage. She said that she had been relatively new to working on TV productions when she first met the show’s other lead actor, Timothy Hutton. She said that she learned to watch out for him.
“We were all pretty scared of Tim,” recalls Lily. “You did not want to piss Tim off.”
She recalled the actor throwing things at her on set when she wouldn’t be able to catch it to make her “look stupid.” And Lily said there were instances where people who crossed Hutton lost their jobs.
“He got people fired. There was one instance where a PA said something under her breath about Tim and she was fired the next day,” Lily said.
After production for Leverage ended, Lily worked with Hutton on a smaller side project in the area. The production, which took place in March 2013, was not an official Electric Entertainment production and was instead a smaller budget indie production that shot on some of the company’s sets. A call sheet reviewed by the Mercury confirmed that Hutton was in the area during this time frame.
Lily said she was riding in the backseat of a car with Hutton heading to a work-related gathering when he touched her inappropriately by putting his hand down her shirt without her consent.
“I just looked down and went ‘Oh, well that’s happening,’” Lily said. “I was already feeling scared and intimidated… I was really stunned.”
In an email to the Mercury, a spokesperson for Hutton said that the actor "could not be reached for comment" on these allegations.
Lily said that Leverage producer Paul Bernard was the one driving the car when the incident took place, but Bernard didn’t appear to witness the assault. Multiple attempts by the Mercury to reach Bernard for comment through email and by phone went unanswered.
Lily said that Hutton’s actions made it feel like he was “claiming” her against her will.
“It was sort of an ownership thing,” Lily said. “Like he was taking ownership of me and my body. That’s really when my alarm bells rang.”
Feeling like she had no options, Heather said she didn't report Hutton allegedly reaching down Lily's shirt. “There was nothing to be done, there was no one to tell,” said Heather. “It was just something you had to deal with.”
Lily claims that Hutton later accused her of leading him on. She said she didn’t consider telling anyone, because she didn’t think there was anywhere she could turn to “above the line,” an industry term that refers to directors, producers, and actors in positions of power.
“It was not an option to even think about,” Lily said. “In the past, it has been clear where most production companies' allegiances lie: with people who are above the line. They haven’t created an atmosphere where below the line crew could talk to them about harassment. Especially the small number of women crew members. This is changing, but far too slowly.”
Lily did feel safe telling fellow set workers, including Heather, about the abuse.
“I remember her being extremely upset and that he behaved inappropriately and made her very uncomfortable as if she didn’t have a choice about his advances,” said Heather.
Like Lily, Heather said she felt like there was no clear way to address a situation like that, especially when it involved a high-profile actor like Hutton. Feeling like she had no options, Heather said she didn't report Hutton allegedly reaching down Lily's shirt.
“There was nothing to be done, there was no one to tell,” said Heather. “It was just something you had to deal with.”
In 2020, Buzzfeed published a story accusing Hutton of raping a 14-year-old girl in 1983, an allegation he denies. Lily said reading this story inspired her to consult a lawyer about her own incident with Hutton in the car. But Lily found that the statute of limitations had since elapsed on her own situation.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Lily said. “It’s been a long time.”
According to Deadline, the investigation into the 1983 alleged rape against Hutton was considered “closed” in July 2021 with prosecutors determining he would not face charges.
Beyond that one off-set incident, Lily said that Hutton’s behavior while on set, from Leverage to the smaller production, was “unpredictable, predatory and manipulative.”
“You never knew what type of mood he was going to be in,” Lily said.
This extended to how Lily said Hutton would “manipulate the schedule” because he would be late or “throw a tantrum that would throw everyone off.”
This included instances where Lily said the actor would unexpectedly leave “on a regular basis” in the middle of working with set workers, leaving them uncertain about what had set him off. For Lily, she felt this came down to her and other women’s work being undervalued.
“He would storm off, without warning, while we were just trying to do our jobs,” Lily said. “Women’s jobs on set were not seen as important as other jobs. The atmosphere on set is definitely driven by the number of men who are above the line on set and women do not get as much respect as they should in their jobs.”
For Diane*, a former set medic who left the industry several years ago, the harassment started on Leverage with inappropriate comments from Kane. She said Kane would frequently make observations about her physical appearance when she was working. Diane believes she was retaliated against at work because of her resistance to Kane’s comments and advances.
Diane recalls one occasion in 2009 when Hutton asked her to provide medical assistance to Kane in his trailer.
With Kane’s comments already making Diane uncomfortable on set, she wasn’t eager to be alone in a trailer with the actor. To address this, she said she asked a production assistant to stand outside to ensure she wasn’t fully alone with Kane, while they waited for another doctor to arrive.
Once inside, Diane alleges that Kane asked her to sit next to him on his bed, which she declined to do. When the doctor arrived, Kane allegedly made comments about Diane’s appearance to the doctor, whose name was Stephen Acosta.
“In front of him, he said, ‘Isn’t [Diane] really hot’ or ‘sexy’ or ‘good-looking,’” Diane recalled. “Thankfully the other doctor said ‘and she’s a professional.’”
After Acosta left, Diane said Kane urged her to stay with him in the trailer for a while longer.
“I felt like I was between a rock and a hard place because this was my job,” said Diane. “[But] I found a reason to leave.”
In retrospect, Diane said that the incident was clearly an abuse of power.
“I would call it sexual harassment for sure,” said Diane. “Especially when you specifically zero in on somebody and get them to be alone. They’re using your job to get you into somebody else’s trailer.”
Diane told this story to another production worker shortly after it happened. He corroborated the story with the Mercury. Acosta passed away in 2016.
Diane said that wasn’t the end of the harassment. She recalled Kane contacting her several times to invite her over to his personal residence to give her furniture he was no longer using. Again, she felt like her job was at risk if she rejected the invitation. But when Diane told Kane that she’d only come over if she could bring a friend, he’d decline the offer.
“He would say ‘Oh, I’m kind of a private person and I’d rather you not bring a friend. But if you came by yourself...’” Diane said. “I was like, ‘No, not doing that.’”
Diane said she didn’t raise concerns internally about her interactions with Kane, because that wasn’t something you do “if you wanted to keep your job.”
“If you say anything, you were blacklisted,” she said. “You were not working on a set anymore.”
“I would call it sexual harassment for sure... especially when you specifically zero in on somebody and get them to be alone. They’re using your job to get you into somebody else’s trailer.”
Rose experienced a version of this retaliation after reporting Kane’s alleged harassment, particularly in how she was treated by the actor on set.
“If I approached [Kane] with something, he’d be like, ‘Yeah, whatever, leave it there.’ It was not a kind, friendly environment,” Rose said. “After a while, I avoided him and had other people have conversations with him because it was clear that his behavior towards me was not going to change.”
Diane said she felt retaliated against by production management, despite not reporting Kane. At the end of the show’s second season, Diane said she was told she would be coming back for the third season in her same job—though that changed right before production was supposed to begin. Diane said Bernard, who was both producer and assistant director on the show, told her that “it had been requested” that she not return.
“I asked, ‘Was there something that I didn’t do?’” Diane said. “He could not give me a reason why suddenly I didn’t have a job anymore.”
Through a connection she had with another worker on set, Diane said she managed to get another job as a rigging medic with Electric Entertainment. However, it was no longer a job working on set—which she had been told she’d have—and still part of a decision by management that she considered retaliatory.
In an email, McGuire said the company “has no record of this alleged incident being reported” though said that Diane was not terminated and that she was reassigned to work “for season three in a different department.”
RISKS OF REPORTING
Tejani, the director of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, said that sexual harassment and retaliation are something that can severely impact a worker’s economic situation.
“The idea of losing your job because of sexual harassment or losing your shift or losing your commission is incredibly dangerous for people,” Tejani said.
In the case of productions in Portland, where only a handful of people offered most of the opportunities for employment, the thought of coming forward meant potentially losing out on much-needed work.
“I quickly learned that the same people had a lot of clout in Portland,” Diane said. “I needed that income. So no, I did not feel I could go to anyone.”
Diane said that when she was initially called into Bernard’s office, she thought she would get a chance to discuss her pay. She instead learned she was facing a loss of income, even when she eventually managed to get a different job.
“It was the same pay per hour, but you’re possibly not going to work as many days,” Diane said.
Tejani said that, of all the people that reach out to her organization who have reported abuse, about 70 percent of them say they faced retaliation.
“This is incredibly disheartening and employers should know better than to have this happen,” she said. “Because, obviously, retaliation chills people from reporting, which means that an employer doesn’t know what’s going on in their workplace and that harassment is running free.”
“If you actually want to make a change in workplace sexual harassment, one of the best ways you can do it is to involve workers in all parts of what you’re doing."
Tim Williams, the executive director of the Oregon Governor's Office of Film & Television, said this type of alleged retaliation is “a very real concern” to his office, a state agency that recruits film and television productions to film in Oregon.
Williams said he’s seen the issue reflected in most production companies’ paperwork.
“Every harassment policy that I see from studios specifically talks about retaliation or allows for anonymous reporting,” Williams said. He said he hasn’t seen any policy from Electric Entertainment as their productions predated when the requirement to share them with the office was put in place.
“We now require them to send them to us as part of the application, but that’s only been in place since July ,” Williams said. “It’s only recently that we’ve gotten policies from some of these places and Electric was not part of that.”
The requirement is part of how the office wants production workers in Oregon to feel supported when they raise harassment allegations, as unaddressed misconduct issues could negatively impact the state’s entire film and television industry.
The state office also provides resources on its website for production staff who may be facing harassment or discrimination at work and collects anonymous reports on problematic production companies. It said it has received no complaints regarding harassment against Electric Entertainment.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) 488, the chapter covering Oregon, Washington, Northern Idaho, and Montana, also collects anonymous reporting on problematic employers on its website.
According to cdavid cottrill, the southern business agent for Local 488, this “tip line” is meant to report all issues, from general safety to incidents such as harassment and bullying.
However, cottrill also said the union considers these types of issues as ones meant to be handled by individual companies.
“Harassment and retaliation is more of an HR issue that the company is responsible for because the employer is the one who is meant to provide a safe and healthy workplace,” cottrill said.
Tejani said there is still the possibility for productions to prevent harassment and institute better practices that come down to one key thing: involving workers.
“If you actually want to make a change in workplace sexual harassment, one of the best ways you can do it is to involve workers in all parts of what you’re doing,” Tejani said. “Having workers help diagnose the problem, having them come up with what the trainings are going to look like, talking to them about what the discipline should be, all of those things can increase their chances, and what you’re going to see is something that is actually going to change the amount of sexual harassment at the workplace.”
Many who worked on Devlin’s production sets in Portland spoke positively of the experience. Workers told the Mercury about the important bonds they formed with their coworkers, the positive experience of working on the local productions, and expressed hope that the local industry could continue to grow. They said they appreciated the consistent work and loyalty shown to area workers.
Several said they had not experienced or seen harassment directly. However, many of them said they had seen and heard of problems with harassment on productions that had gone unaddressed and largely ignored for years in the Portland area. Several said their concerns regarding harassment went unaddressed by production managers.
The women who said they experienced harassment while working on Electric Entertainment’s productions said they weren’t offered many internal avenues to ask about or weigh in on how their claims of harassment were handled. Concerns remain that many of those who overlooked harassment are still supported in the industry.
“The boys’ club still remains there. There are still the same people that are working,” said Lily. “This is not just local sets, there are boys’ clubs on every set, because women are historically the minority in the industry.”
According to The Wrap, Hutton’s character was written out of the newest revival of Leverage following the prior rape allegation. On February 28, Hutton sued the producers of the new series, alleging that they breached his contract when they dropped him from the show following that same report of the rape allegation. However, Kane still remains a central character on the show that will soon go into production on the planned second season. Devlin is still producing the show through Electric Entertainment.