Partner Ed McPherson was quoted in The Daily Telegraph article “Hollywood Divided as ‘Morality Clauses’ Return to Contracts in Wake of Weinstein,” discussing the shift in Hollywood to include morality clauses in contracts since the emergence of sexual harassment claims against numerous actors, producers and directors, as well as how Hollywood executives are seeking to minimize financial risk in the current “Me Too” climate.
“If I’m a studio, I want the biggest, broadest morality clause I can get,” said McPherson. “But as an artist, I’m worried – what infraction falls into this? It’s easy to say it applies in a Weinstein scenario. But some clauses mention the behaviour that would ‘shock, insult or offend the community or public morals.’ What does that mean? If you yell at someone in the street?”
McPherson explains that an A-list actor would have much more leeway in negotiating the clause out of the contract. “If you’re Tom Cruise or Meryl Streep, sure. As with everything, it depends on the star power. But most studios aren’t going to willingly budge on it.”
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