The public fallout of major entertainment players from Kevin Spacey to Harvey Weinstein in the #MeToo era has some studios scrambling to add broad morality clauses to their contracts.
Hollywood morality clauses go back as far as the 1920s, when the notorious Fatty Arbuckle scandal and its following trial rocked the entertainment world. Since then, their popularity and importance has ebbed and flowed with societal values and current events – and the recent rise of the internet and 24/7 news cycle had already increased their prevalence before the #MeToo movement took off last fall.
If you work in the entertainment industry, what has been your experience with morality clauses? Have you been able to negotiate more specific terms than “conduct that results in adverse publicity or notoriety”? Would you sign a contract so broad in the current industry atmosphere?
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Tim Cedrone, labor and employment law attorney at Apruzzese, McDermott, Mastro & Murphy, P.C. in New Jersey and adjunct professor at Seton Hall University; he previously served as the chair of the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association