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Sexual Harassment and Entertainment: How Attorneys Can Help Navigate a Way Forward for Survivors and the Industry

Speaker(s): Aditi Fruitwala, Bonnie E. Eskenazi, Cathy Schulman, Christina T. Tellado, Ellen Snortland, Elsa Ramo, Frances E. Olsen, Janet Carol Norton, Marytza J. Reyes, Scott J. Tepper
Recorded on: Mar. 9, 2018
PLI Program #: 240907

Aditi Fruitwala is a Staff Attorney with the LGBTQ, Gender, and Reproductive Justice Project at the ACLU of Southern California, largely focusing on sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Prior to joining the ACLU of Southern California, Aditi served as a Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice. Aditi holds a Juris Doctor degree from UC Berkeley School of Law, a Master of Science degree in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics, and Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from American University. Aditi currently serves as the Education & Advocacy Chair for Satrang and Membership Chair for the South Asian Bar Association of Southern California.

Cathy Schulman, a Best Picture Academy Award® winning producer and veteran film executive, is the president and CEO of Welle Entertainment, a film and television production and finance company that opened its doors in 2017. Schulman was most recently the Head of Production for STX Entertainment. Having joined the company as one of its initial senior executives, Schulman managed an annual twelve picture slate.  Recent films under Schulman’s purview include the Summer 2016 hit Bad Moms, written and directed by The Hangover’s Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Christina Applegate; and the critical darling The Edge of Seventeen, written and directed by Kelly Freemon Craig, and starring Woody Harrelson and Hailee Steinfeld, for whom it garnered a Golden Globe nomination.  Under her own Bull’s Eye Entertainment banner, Schulman produced Crash, directed by Paul Haggis and starring Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon and Terrence Howard. In addition to Schulman receiving the film’s Best Picture Oscar in 2006, Crash received Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing. Among many of the notable films Schulman has produced are Horns, Voices, Bernie, Soul Surfer, Thumbsucker, and The Illusionist. She also developed and arranged the financing for Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York.

Schulman has been the President of Women In Film, the industry’s leading advocacy organization for women in media, since 2011. Schulman is also a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences,  a USC Stark Program producer’s mentor and has taught graduate level film producing at UCLA and the Dodge College of Film Media and Arts at Chapman University, where she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate. She has also served as a judge for the prestigious Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards. She is a notable industry spokesperson and public speaker and most recently gave the 2016 media address for International Woman’s Day at the United Nations. Schulman is a graduate of Yale University, with a double major in Theater Studies and History of Art.  She is the mother of one daughter and resides in Los Angeles, California.

Christina “Tina” Tellado is a partner in Holland & Knight LLP Labor and Employment Group.  Tina maintains a bi-coastal practice and holds a leadership role in the Firm’s nationwide wage and hour practice.  Her practice is focused on the representation of employers in all aspects of employment and labor law, with a particular emphasis on wage and hour representative litigation, as well as discrimination and harassment, and trade secret/non-compete issues.  Tina’s practice encompasses both counseling clients on workforce issues and representing them when litigation arises.

Tina has extensive experience representing employers in nationwide class and collective actions and complex employment litigation from receipt of the complaint through discovery, class certification, and trial. Tina regularly defends complex wage and hour litigation involving overtime, minimum wage, off-the-clock, classification of exempt or non-exempt overtime status, misclassification as an independent contractor or contingent worker, and meal and rest break claims. She is skilled at organizing voluminous data and assisting clients with e-discovery demands, managing attorney “teams” to collect and develop facts in cases involving thousands of employees. Tina is a “big case” strategic thinker and excellent case manager, and her experience provides exceptional value to the clients she represents.

Tina also regularly defends claims brought under the full range of federal and state employment statutes and state common law, including Title VII, the ADA, ADEA, and FMLA. She has successfully represented clients in all phases of litigation, including arbitrations on such claims.

Tina counsels employers on compensation plans to ensure legal compliance, and otherwise counsels employers on wage and hour issues related to compensable time, wage deductions, and commissions. She routinely advises employers on implementing and enforcing arbitration agreements with class and collective action waivers. Tina also counsels clients on workforce reductions, workplace investigations, hiring decisions and processes, disability accommodations and medical leaves, termination and discipline decisions, senior management contract negotiations, severance negotiations, drafting employee handbooks and policies, and other workforce issues. In addition, Tina conducts internal wage and hour audits to assist clients in properly classifying employees, protecting against off-the-clock liability, and avoiding independent contractor misclassification and joint employer liability.

Ellen Snortland has her Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School and is an author, lecturer, playwright, filmmaker, and writing and first-time author coach for local and internationally-based clients.

Dateline NBC featured Ellen’s work as a self-defense advocate and instructor, along with her groundbreaking book Beauty Bites Beast (now in its 3rd Edition). She is the co-author of The Safety Godmothers with Lisa Gaeta and is writing a new book, Coulda / Shoulda / Woulda which is a memoir about her career in media and entertainment that was cut short by rampant sexism and ageism.

Ms. Snortland believes that “Think Globally, Act Locally” is vital for women and girls. Females of all species know how to protect themselves, and it is a birthright for human females, too. She says, “There’s nothing more local than one’s own body.” Her TEDxPasadena talk “The Personal Safety Paradox” encapsulates decades of her self-defense advocacy in 18 minutes.

A longtime women’s rights advocate, Ellen has had a column in the Pasadena

Weekly for over 30 years, is a blogger for the Huffington Post and Ms. Magazine, and has been featured on NPR and in major market newspapers. She is a Goodwill Ambassador for the National Women’s History Project.

Snortland’s acclaimed one-woman show, “Now That She’s Gone,” is a memoir about growing up Norwegian American in Colorado and South Dakota. Snortland has attended several United Nations world conferences and annual UN meetings as an NGO delegate, self-defense advocate, and journalist. She is currently promoting the feature-length documentary film version of Beauty Bites Beast, which qualified for the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 2017 Academy Awards.

Ellen lives in Altadena, CA with her beloved husband and life partner, Ken

Gruberman and is the mother of three badly behaved yappy dogs.


Facebook: Ellen Snortland | Twitter: @ellenbitesbeast

Elsa Ramo is an established entertainment attorney, representing producers, financiers, and production entities in film, television, VR and digital content across all platforms.  She graduated from University of San Diego School of Law in 2002, and began her career by establishing the Los Angeles office for Davis Dixon Kirby LLP (a royalty litigation firm).  After several clients approached her to handle their independent film productions, she founded her own firm on the Universal Studios backlot in 2005.  Ramo Law PC is now located in Beverly Hills.

Her law firm has two partners, Erika Canchola and Michelle Chang with six associates, a packaging and sales department headed by Tiffany Boyle, and a full staff who collectively provide development, packaging, production, distribution and finance legal services to approximately 100 television, feature film, short film, OTT series, VR content and documentary productions each year.  Television credits include series on AMC, MTV, Netflix, ABC Digital, ABC, YouTubeRed, Hulu, and Bravo.  Some recent television and film credits include: DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE (Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn), CHEF’S TABLE (Netflix Emmy nominated docu-series), STILL ALICE (Julianne Moore), BAND-AID (Zoe-Lister Jones) GRANDMA (Lily Tomlin), THE HOLLARS (Anna Kendrick, directed by John Krasinski), SHORT TERM 12 (Brie Larsen), THE TO DO LIST (Aubrey Plaza) and LIKE CRAZY (Felicity Jones, and Jennifer Lawrence) and CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Armie Hammer).

Her client list includes producers, production companies, sales agents, financiers and distributors such as: Informant Media, Scott Mednick, Anne Clements, Electric City Films, Skydance, Good Deed Entertainment, The Solution, Bond It, Sundial Pictures, Boardwalk Pictures, Rumble Films and Unified Pictures.   

Her expertise in the industry has been featured in numerous outlets, including Variety’s 2017 Hollywood’s New Leaders and their 2014 Women Impact Report, Los Angeles Business Journal’s Most Influential Minority Attorneys, Indiewire’s Women to Watch, The Daily Journal, The Wrap, Forbes, and Latino Weekly. 

Speaking credits include: California Lawyers for the Arts, Film Independent, LawReviewCLE, Institute for International Film Financing, USC, AFI, UCLA, moderated panels in 2015 and 2016 for the SXSW festival, South by Southwest V2V, Slamdance Film Festival, the San Diego Film Festival, Digital Hollywood, Boston University School of Law, and the University of San Diego Law School. 

In May 2010, she was awarded an Artistic License Award along with Maria Shriver by California Lawyers for the Arts for her outstanding pro-bono work providing artists and arts organizations with legal services.   She is also a board committee member of the 2018 UCLA Entertainment Law Symposium.

Outside of membership in four Bar Associations (California, American, Beverly Hills, & Los Angeles), Elsa is also a member of Film Independent, Women in Film, California Lawyers for the Arts and is the founder of a networking and mentorship group she formed to connect women in the entertainment law field named PEFA (‘professional entertainment female attorneys’).  She is licensed to practice law in California, the District of Columbia and as of 2017 in New York.

She lives in Santa Monica with her husband and son.

More information about Elsa Ramo and her staff can be found on her company website:

Janet Carol Norton is a partner and Co-Head of the Television Production department at ICM Partners and is a newly appointed Board member. Janet has made a name for herself by building a niche business representing TV line producers, who cover the top shows in the marketplace such as Homeland, Stranger Things, Veep, Silicon Valley and Man in the High Castle. Janet was a 2017 honoree in Variety’s Power of Women Impact Report for her success and leadership in the industry. Recently, Janet served as an ambassador at POLITICO’s 5th Annual Women Rule Summit in Washington D.C. She also moderated ICM Politics’ sponsored discussion on policies that impact women and families with panelists including Sue Dunlap—President & CEO, Planned Parenthood LA.

Marytza J. Reyes has more than 15 years’ experience handling complex employment and commercial litigation for national and regional entities across a wide range of industries.

Marytza has extensive experience defending and advising clients in complex wage and hour disputes—including class actions, claims under the California Private Attorney General Act, and state and federal labor laws.  She represents employers in discrimination, harassment, retaliation, whistleblower, and wrongful termination lawsuits, handling all aspects of litigation from motion practice through mediations, trials and appeals.  She also conducts internal investigations on sensitive personnel issues and represents clients in responding to government investigations, audits and hearings involving employment law issues.

Marytza has significant experience prosecuting and defending actions involving trade secrets, unfair competition, defamation, breach of contract, fraud and other business disputes.  She has successfully completed numerous mediations and arbitrations of employment and business disputes.

Marytza’s engaging style and deep knowledge base makes her a sought-after speaker on a wide array of employment litigation topics.  Marytza serves in several leadership roles with the Los Angeles County Bar Association: For attorneys new to the field she speaks at the Nuts and Bolts of Employment Law annual seminar, and for advanced practitioners she speaks for the Saturday Seminar Committee on wage and hour and other employment law topics.  Marytza serves on the Los Angeles area committee of the National Employment  Law Council and is a member of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Women Lawyers of Los Angeles, and the American Bar Association.  She is admitted to practice in the Ninth Circuit, all California U.S. District Courts and all courts of the State of California. 

Prior to joining SANCHEZ & AMADOR, Marytza was a member of the Labor & Employment Group of Reed Smith for seven years, after having handled employment and commercial litigation for seven years with Thelen, LLP, and its predecessor firm.  Marytza received her J.D. from Notre Dame Law School and her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles.  Marytza writes and speaks Spanish fluently.

Scott Tepper is the founding partner of Garfield & Tepper. His eclectic practice includes commercial and real estate litigation. He also practices entertainment and labor law.

Scott is a 1967 graduate of UCLA and received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1971.

During the 2012 election cycle, Scott represented President Barack Obama in his capacity as a candidate in “birther” litigation, both behind the scenes and in a Federal lawsuit in Mississippi.

Most recently, Scott worked with Elsa Ramo on a sexual harassment matter involving workplace misconduct during the filing of a motion picture. Scott spearheaded the investigation following the discharge of an actor in the film.

For the past 30 years, Bonnie Eskenazi has regularly handled some of Hollywood’s most high profile and landmark entertainment disputes for some of the industry’s leading performers, directors, writers, producers, rights holders, studios and talent agents.  In litigation, she represents plaintiffs and defendants in a variety of litigation matters, primarily focusing on entertainment disputes over issues such as royalties and profit participations, copyright ownership, idea theft, contracts, defamation, invasion of privacy, merchandise and licensing, music distribution, and new technology.  Ms. Eskenazi has represented some of Hollywood’s most famous actors, directors, writers, producers, musicians, independent production companies and major studios both in the US and abroad, including Marvel Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks, MGM, STX Entertainment, EndemolShine North America, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Marlon Brando, Brett Ratner, Hans Zimmer, Estate of J.R.R. Tolkien, Harper Collins Publishing, Renee Fleming, Joshua Bell, Itzhak Perlman, Harvey Entertainment, DIC Entertainment, Elle Macpherson, Geffen Records, Bagdasarian Productions (owners of the Chipmunks), and Lagardere Entertainment.  She has also acted as outside general counsel for the Bob Marley Estate for the past six years.

Ms. Eskenazi has been repeatedly recognized by the Hollywood and legal industries for her exceptional performance: Top 100 “Power Lawyers” (Hollywood Reporter), one of California’s leading media and entertainment lawyers (Chambers & Partners), “Women of Impact” and “Legal Impact” list (Variety), Top 100 Women Lawyers in California (LA Daily Journal), Entertainment Lawyer of the Year (The Recorder), one of the “Top Women Attorneys in Southern California – Entertainment and Sports” (Los Angeles Magazine), “The Best of the Bar” (Los Angeles Business Journal), Southern California “Super Lawyer” (Law & Politics Magazine), and Best Lawyers in America.  Ms. Eskenazi also carries the highest peer-review rating, “AV” by Martindale Hubbell.

Ms. Eskenazi teaches Entertainment Law at Stanford Law School and is a guest lecturer at Harvard Law School’s Entertainment Law class.  She is a founding member of the Los Angeles non-profit organizations Festival of New American Musicals and Reprise 2.0.

Ms. Eskenazi graduated with highest distinction from University of Virginia and received her J.D. from Stanford Law School.  She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and has two grown children.

Over the past four decades Frances Olsen has taught a wide variety of classes on legal theory and social change, including Feminist Legal Theory, Law & Dissident, Women & Law, Family Law, and Torts. Her areas of research interest include legal theory, social change and feminism.

During law school, Professor Olsen did legal aid work for migrant farm workers in Colorado and was the notes & comments editor of the University of Colorado Law Review. She then clerked for the chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Colorado. She represented Native Americans at Wounded Knee in 1973. She established the first feminist public interest law firm in Denver, and, from 1981 to 1983 while an S.J.D. student, founded a legal academic women's group, the Fem-Crits, which spread across the country. She has taught courses in feminist legal theory at Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Berlin, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Jerusalem, and at other universities in the U.S., France, Italy, Japan, and Israel. She was a fellow at Oxford University in 1987 and holds a Life Fellowship at Churchill College, Cambridge University. She lectures throughout the world and has been published in some dozen languages.

Professor Olsen has authored or edited six books and published more than a hundred book chapters and articles, often in top-rated journals, including the Harvard Law Review and Yale Law Journal.