Visual Effects Society Adopts Code Of Conduct To Address Harassment, Discrimination
VES Board chair Mike Chambers
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The Visual Effects Society (VES) has adopted a new Code of Conduct for members, which formalizes the Society’s commitment to ensuring that all members are treated with respect, dignity and inclusion.  The VES Board of Directors unanimously ratified the Code at its May 2018 Board meeting.  The policy underscores the Society’s categorical opposition to all forms of discrimination, harassment, workplace harassment and sexual harassment and delineates the values, standards and expectations of personal and professional conduct for its membership.

“The VES is entrusted with fostering a positive environment where our members are treated with integrity and upholding the high standards befitting our honorary society,” said Mike Chambers, VES Board chair.  “As a global organization, we take seriously our role within the entertainment community.  We have the responsibility and opportunity to set an example in nurturing diverse relationships to support the welfare of our members and the industry at large – and this Code of Conduct is an important step to achieve that.” 

Brooke Breton, VES Board member and chair of the VES Ad Hoc Committee on Harassment, said, “We are in the midst of a critical movement and now is the time for our industry to evolve and take action to address and prevent harassment and discrimination.  I am extremely gratified that the Society is demonstrating its leadership to address these longstanding issues and of my Board colleagues in giving their enthusiastic support to this directive.  Together, we have the ability to create a safer, healthier and more equitable environment for VFX artists and practitioners worldwide and enhance the overall integrity of our industry.”

 As a complement to the Code of Conduct, the Society will develop a program to provide referrals such as legal and counseling resources to support our members who experience harassment or discrimination.

“Partnership is a key element of our priority focus on these issues,” continued Breton.  “The VES will actively collaborate with other organizations and support interdisciplinary entertainment industry initiatives, because we all have a vital role to play and resources to bring to the table to bring about impactful and sustainable change.” 

The VES Code of Conduct reads:

Visual Effects Society Code of Conduct

The Visual Effects Society (VES) is committed to providing an environment in which all members are treated with respect, dignity, and inclusion. Through this Code of Conduct, we are formalizing VES values, standards and expectations of personal and professional conduct for our members. Active status of VES membership requires adherence to this Code of Conduct.

All VES members must be committed to recognizing and advancing the contributions of all of its members and practitioners in the VFX community at large, irrespective of gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, childbirth, marital status, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, medical condition, culture, age, religion, military service, veteran status or any other defining category.

Code of Conduct Guidelines:
Members are expected to act with the highest integrity and refrain from committing any act that will degrade themselves or the VES, or prejudice, damage or harm the standing, reputation, welfare and/or best interests of the VES and its members. Members are expected to:

  • Behave in a professionally appropriate and courteous manner toward other members and the Society’s personnel, volunteers, vendors, sponsors and guests
  • Discuss differences in a professional, non-confrontational manner with due regard for the viewpoints of others
  • Honor and respect cultural diversity
  • Uphold this Code of Conduct and its values in their professional lives

The VES is categorically opposed to any form of discrimination, harassment or retaliation in the workplace or within the confines of the Visual Effects Society. Definitions are as follows:

Discrimination is treating differently or denying or granting a benefit to an individual because of their defining category. This includes denying promotions and equal pay.

Harassment is unwanted conduct which creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment. This can include psychological, personal, workplace, or sexual harassment. Harassment can be written (texts, emails, notes, social media posts), verbal, physical gestures and innuendo. This may include:

  • Bullying – using strength or influence to intimidate
  • Making remarks, jokes or innuendo that demean, ridicule, intimidate or offend
  • Displaying or circulating offensive pictures or materials in print or electronic form
  • Repeated offensive or intimidating phone calls or electronic media communications
  • Hate speech and statements that reinforce stereotypes
  • Exhibiting behavior that endangers the health and safety of others, including physically threatening or purposefully striking another
  • Knowingly defaming, maligning or making false accusations against another member

Workplace harassment means engaging in a course of conduct against someone in a professional environment that is known (or ought reasonably to be known) to be unwelcome. Workplace harassment also includes making a solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the person.

Sexual harassment is harassment based on sex or of a sexual nature; gender harassment; and harassment based on pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  • Unwanted sexual advances
  • Offering employment or other benefits in exchange for sexual favors, or denying fair treatment when sexual favors are not granted
  • Making sexual gestures or exposure of sexual organs
  • Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons or posters
  • Making or using derogatory comments, slurs, or jokes of a sexual nature
  • Using sexually degrading words to describe an individual
  • Unwelcome physical touching or assault, as well as blocking or impeding movement
  • Wolf whistling, catcalling or offensive sexual noises.

Retaliation means adverse conduct taken because an individual reported an actual or perceived violation of this policy regarding discrimination, harassment or sexual harassment.

VES acknowledges that VES members work in uniquely creative workplaces and that certain words, ideas and imagery used in other contexts may be deemed offensive by some. However, there is nothing about creativity that requires individuals to fear for their physical, emotional, or economic safety.

The Visual Effects Society is entrusted with providing a positive environment in which all members are treated with integrity and uphold the highest standards befitting our global honorary society. VES condemns any threatening behavior, both toward and by its members. When a VES member violates this code it demeans the Society and the profession, and could lead to consequences including loss of membership in the Society.

Accordingly, we call upon all VES members to adhere to this Code of Conduct.


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