HBO’s Westworld Wants Background Actors Comfortable With “Genital Touching?”

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HBO has landed themselves in hot water with SAG-AFTRA after unusually graphic actor consent forms for their upcoming Westworld project started circulating.

Westworld is the 2016 remake of the 1973 science fiction western starring Yul Brynner as an android. It was written and directed by Michael Crichton of Jurassic Park fame. This new television version was created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy (with J.J. Abrams producing) and will star Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright, and Thandie Newton among others. It’s been called “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin.”

I’ve watched enough sci-fi (particularly with androids involved) to know where “the future of sin” takes us and we all know HBO ramps up sexual content whenever they can but if this latest news is true, they’d be taking their newest show to another level entirely.

The Hollywood Reporter describes parts of the notice SAG-AFTRA (The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) posted:

The explicit consent form itself wouldn’t pass standards reviews at a broadcast network as it recites that the performer ‘may be required to perform genital-to-genital touching, simulate oral sex with hand-to-genital touching, contort to form a table-like shape while being fully nude, pose on all fours while others who are fully nude ride on your back, [and] ride on someone’s back while you are both fully nude.’ Less strenuously, others might simply ‘have [their] genitals painted.’


THR also notes the words “other assorted acts” were also included in the contract. But HBO is going on record to say they had no idea about any of this:

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.

But wait, there’s more! THR had a follow-up statement from SAG-AFTRA:

SAG-AFTRA sent the consent form to HBO yesterday afternoon and requested that the document be changed to more accurately reflect the contractual provisions. HBO had every opportunity to rectify this situation and it was only after their direct refusal to remedy this that we posted the notice on our website. The Union is very pleased to hear that HBO is doing the right thing now, but it is disappointing that we had to take such public measures to ensure compliance with our contracts and protect our background actors.


What do you think of the whole situation, over the top or just another day at HBO?

One Response to “HBO’s Westworld Wants Background Actors Comfortable With “Genital Touching?””

  1. Adam Blackhat says:

    I’m curious about the naked people tables. I assume they’re talking about a stomach-up, crab-walk table shape, which is slightly less butt-in-your-face but either way, I’m not sure how much enjoyment you can get out of a coffee table that can fart on you while you’re enjoying your waffles.