Dozens of stunt performers have signed a letter sent today to the leadership of SAG-AFTRA calling for an end to “wigging” – the age-old practice of putting wigs and dresses on stuntmen so they can double for actresses – and “paint-downs,” in which dark make-up is applied to white stunt performers so that they can double for actors of color. “In the stunt industry, diversity and inclusion have long been overlooked and discouraged, and it’s long past time for these practices to end,” said stuntwoman Crystal Santos, who spearheaded the campaign.
In response to the letter, SAG-AFTRA said that it “stands in solidarity with performers whose opportunities to work in stunt roles have been denied or limited because of bias against women, minorities and performers with disabilities. SAG-AFTRA has long recognized the difficulties faced by diverse performers seeking to establish themselves as stunt professionals and has bargained into our main television and film contract language that requires producers and stunt coordinators to consider and endeavor to cast women, minorities and performers with disabilities for stunt roles. Our contract also explicitly addresses the practice of ‘painting down’ and provides that this practice is ‘presumptively improper.’