After reports that extras on the new HBO show Westworld had to sign a release agreeing to “participate in graphic sexual situations” like “genital-to-genital touching” circulated on the internet, HBO has come out to say that they had no part in drafting this agreement.
Here’s an excerpt of HBO’s statement on the matter, via Variety:
“The document that the background actors were given was created by an outside extras casting vendor. It was not requested, written or approved by HBO, Warner Bros. Television, or the producers, and contains situations that we do not require of any actor. We are rectifying immediately the discrepancies in this vendor’s document with our actual on-set practices, which provide a professional and comfortable working environment for all performers.”
This probably comes to the relief of SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union that raised concerns about the consent agreement, specifically that it may be “unenforceable” when it comes to the union’s own “television agreement.” These terms include the actor’s right to withdraw consent at any time when it comes to shooting scenes that require nudity and sexual acts (except for scenes already shot), that the set be closed to people not associated with the production, and that still photography not take place without the consent of the background player. It also sounds like HBO is disavowing the performance requirements that the original release detailed, although it’s unclear as to how many or which specific ones.
Westworld is based on a Michael Crichton movie of the same name, about a futuristic amusement park populated by extremely human-like androids. It stars Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Ed Harris, James Marsden and Thandie Newton, among others.