Jennifer Aniston urged to be ‘open’ to intimacy coordinators and to help ‘educate’ those who may need extra support – after she sparked backlash by REFUSING guidance for steamy sex scene with Jon Hamm on The Morning Show because she is ‘old school’

Intimacy coordinators are urging Jennifer Aniston to be ‘open’ to the need for their support after she revealed she refused help during a steamy sex scene with Jon Hamm because she is ‘old school.’

The actress, 54, appeared to suggest she would find it ‘awkward’ to discuss how she felt about coordinating the racy encounter with the actor in Apple TV series The Morning Show.

Now, those working as intimacy coordinators have hit back at Aniston’s response, claiming she is not familiar with their work, as they encouraged her to ‘advocate’ for them on set in order to help others to feel more comfortable. 

Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com, Samantha J McDonald, an Intimacy Directors & Coordinators certified coach, said: ‘I hope someday my path crosses with hers and she’s open to hearing more about how an Intimacy Coordinator functions, and how best to utilize working with one as an actor, or director, or crew member, or writer, or producer.

Sean Bean faced instant backlash when he claimed that ICs 'ruin' scenes by spoiling the spontaneity

Recent comments made by the likes of Friends actress Jennifer Aniston and Game of Thrones star Sean Bean have continued the debate surrounding the need for Intimacy Coordinators

Aniston made raised eyebrows earlier this month after revealing that she and The Morning Show co-star Jon Hamm had declined to chance to work with a coordinator on the show

Aniston made raised eyebrows earlier this month after revealing that she and The Morning Show co-star Jon Hamm had declined to chance to work with a coordinator on the show

‘Should that conversation ever happen with me or another IC, she still may very well decide she’s comfortable without one, and she is entitled to that decision. But with that knowledge, she may be able to help educate other actors around her who may need that extra support, and hopefully advocate for the position of Intimacy Coordinator in the future.’

Aniston made the comments during an interview with Variety, in which she recalled: ‘They asked us if we wanted an intimacy coordinator. I’m from the olden days, so I was like, “What does that mean?” 

‘They said, “Where someone asks you if you’re OK,” and I’m like, “Please, this is awkward enough! We’re seasoned — we can figure this one out”.’

McDonald, who has worked on projects for HBO and Disney, also argued that Aniston’s reaction was partly down to the simplistic explanation that was given to her.  

‘I think the explanation that was given serves as a reminder that this job is still fairly new in this industry,’ she explained. ‘Not everyone has the experience of working with an IC and not everyone knows how expansive and intricate this job can be. 

‘We are still very much in education mode, and almost every week I am explaining to someone new what our job is and how we function for the cast, crew and production as a whole.’

She finished: ‘Jennifer has the right to make whatever decision she feels is right for her.’ 

Fellow Intimacy Coordinator Heather María Ács – who has worked on a number of Hulu shows – added: ‘It sounds like the actor, regardless of her experience, is not familiar with the role, practices or workflow of an IC, which is not atypical. Many people within and outside or the industry are still unfamiliar with the work of intimacy coordinators.’ 

The pair opted to choreograph their raunchy scene which saw Jennifer baring plenty of skin as she rolled around with the Mad Men actor

The pair opted to choreograph their raunchy scene which saw Jennifer baring plenty of skin as she rolled around with the Mad Men actor 

When told that an IC 'asks you if you're OK', she replied: 'We're seasoned — we can figure this one out'

When told that an IC ‘asks you if you’re OK’, she replied: ‘We’re seasoned — we can figure this one out’ 

Intimacy Coordinator Samantha J McDonald argued that Aniston and Hamm's reaction was partly down to the simplistic explanation that was given to her about the intricate role

Intimacy Coordinator Samantha J McDonald argued that Aniston and Hamm’s reaction was partly down to the simplistic explanation that was given to her about the intricate role

Kristina Arjona, who worked on Amazon Prime’s The Summer I Turned Pretty, said they were annoyed at the lack of ‘accurate representation’ provided about the role.

‘It’s frustrating that even the people offering the role of an IC to actors do not have the basic understanding of the position, and can color how an established actor might feel about interacting with an IC,’ they said.

Intimacy Coordinators are an ‘advocate, a liaison between actors and production, and a movement coach and/or choreographer in regards to nudity and simulated sex and other intimate and hyper-exposed scenes,’ according to American labor union SAG-AFTRA.

Their work is not just focused on the time spent on set, but also in the hours beforehand where they use a selection of tools to create a comfortable environment of consent. 

Aniston isn’t the only celebrity to reject them. Sean Bean, 64, faced a backlash in August 2022 when he claimed that ICs ‘ruin’ scenes by spoiling the spontaneity and reducing it to ‘a technical exercise.’

He was criticized by British actress Jameela Jamil, 37, and West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler, who tweeted: ‘I was extremely grateful for the one we had on [West Side Story] – they showed grace to a newcomer like myself and educated those around me who’ve had years of experience. Spontaneity in intimate scenes can be unsafe.’

A similar back and forth took place earlier this year when British acting legend Sir Ian McKellen slammed ‘irrelevant’ jobs such as ICs for ruining the ‘purity’ of modern theatre and ‘getting in the way’ of performers.

In response, Dame Emma Thompson hailed coordinators as ‘absolutely essential’ saying: ‘It’s all very well, if you’re a bloke it’s a different kind of thing.

Back in August, Emma Stone gushed about having an IC on the set Poor Things stating: 'It changed the entire energy of the set, and the feeling of safety'

Back in August, Emma Stone gushed about having an IC on the set Poor Things stating: ‘It changed the entire energy of the set, and the feeling of safety’

West Side Story star Rachel Zegler tweeted last year: 'I was extremely grateful for the one we had on [WSS] - they showed grace to a newcomer like myself and educated those around me'

West Side Story star Rachel Zegler tweeted last year: ‘I was extremely grateful for the one we had on [WSS] – they showed grace to a newcomer like myself and educated those around me’

‘I think if you’re a young woman on a set, which is largely peopled by men, the crew will be 90 per cent men and the women won’t be on the set with you, because generally speaking we do not have parity on any level on film sets, it’s all men.

‘And that’s a very uncomfortable position for a young woman who’s starting in the industry, but it is absolutely essential that there is someone there to protect them. Absolutely essential.’

More recently in August, Emma Stone gushed about having an IC on the set of her latest project, Poor Things. 

‘I felt really comfortable,’ she said. ‘I was like, “I think I’ll be fine. I won’t need to talk to the intimacy coordinator that much”.

‘I couldn’t have been more wrong. She was so gentle and passionate. She was so helpful. It changed the entire energy of the set, and the feeling of safety.’

Reacting to the mix of comments that have been made by stars in the past few years, McDonald stated: ‘In my five years and over 40 productions of working as an Intimacy Coordinator I have heard of and experienced more big name stars successfully working with an IC as a part of the process rather than not.

‘I have encountered actors choosing to have less on-set support, but our job is much bigger than that part of the job alone. Every person is entitled to choose for themselves what level of support they want.’

Ács added: ‘I’ve worked with many celebrities who were incredibly appreciative that I was part of the process. I’ve worked with others who see it as a daily part of the protocols. 

Sir Ian McKellen slammed 'irrelevant' jobs such as ICs for ruining the 'purity' of modern theatre

Sir Michael Caine claimed that he didn't understand the need for ICs

Seasoned stars such as Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Michael Caine have voiced their confusion about the need for the time taken to work with an IC on productions

In response to Sir Ian's comments, Dame Emma Thompson hailed coordinators 'absolutely essential'

In response to Sir Ian’s comments, Dame Emma Thompson hailed coordinators ‘absolutely essential’

Arjona continued: ‘Simulated sex or appearing nude in front of your co-workers is a very strange job, and the possibilities of missteps, disrespect, or potential harassment issues can easily happen without appropriate boundaries and clear communication strategies in place.’

‘And I’ve had a few less responsive experiences, but overall people have been very happy to have an intimacy coordinator on set and express that this is how they prefer to work.’

Arjona – who has worked on projects for Amazon Prime and Showtime – noted: ‘Sometimes my fellow ICs share experiences about actors who have been resistant to their presence on set, but typically they don’t decline them being hired.’

They added: ‘I hope the next generation of actors never has to go through what many A-listers experienced in their early careers… and I hope more A-listers understand the benefits that can be had in having this support and knowing that they don’t have to handle all that pressure alone anymore. ICs are here to support you, we’re all on the same team.’ 

Ács said she finds it ‘powerful’ to see how younger actors view ICs as a commonplace necessity on set.

‘I do have the opinion that because younger generations are so steeped in consent culture and bodily autonomy, that working with an intimacy coordinator won’t be a question, it will be an expectation,’ she stated. 

‘I’m already seeing this in action. It’s been quite powerful to work with younger actors on their first intimate scenes and to know that their experiences in the industry will/should be different and always include intimacy coordinators.’

Ács continued: ‘Individual celebrities certainly can have the power to affect positive change, if they choose to do so, but regardless of the opinions of individual celebrities, intimacy coordinating is the wave of the future.’

The trained coaches like Alicia Rodis (pictured left) talk to actors about the intimate scenes before they are filmed, and help to coordinate their movements among other responsibilities

The trained coaches like Alicia Rodis (pictured left) talk to actors about the intimate scenes before they are filmed, and help to coordinate their movements among other responsibilities

ICs uses strapless thongs that adhere to the body to ensure that the actors' most sensitive body parts stay under wraps - male Hibues pictured

Female version - Shibues - pictured

ICs use strapless thongs, male Hibues (pictured left), that adhere to the body to ensure that the actors’ most sensitive body parts stay under wraps (female Shibues pictured right)

‘When done correctly, it’s not invasive or awkward, it’s a part of the protocols, preproduction, and production standards that would be implemented similar to a stunt coordinator. Eventually, it will be as common as wardrobe or any other department.’

Earlier this year, SAG-AFTRA negotiated an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers which read: ‘Producer will use best efforts to engage an Intimacy Coordinator for scenes involving nudity or sex acts. 

‘Producer will also consider in good faith any request by a performer or a performer’s representative to engage an Intimacy Coordinator for other scenes. Producer shall not retaliate against a performer for requesting an Intimacy Coordinator.’

Ács pointed to the inclusion of ICs and their work in the new contract as a sign that coaches are here to stay.

The inclusion of intimacy coordinators in the newest SAG basic agreement is a major step towards this reality and some studios/platforms already require intimacy coordinators for their productions,’ she said. ‘Intimacy coordinators provide safety and support not only for actors, but also directors, production, and crew.’

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