These policies were adapted from the policies of Starlight Audio Productions, some of which were adapted from the policies of Piece of Cake Podcasting Network. We are very grateful to Starlight Audio Productions for giving us permission to use their policy to help us protect our casts and crews.

DIVERSITY & INCLUSION

Zebulon Podcasts (“ZP”) is committed to creating work by marginalized groups for marginalized groups. When making casting or hiring decisions, we will prioritize those who are often excluded from opportunities in this and other fields—namely, those who face discrimination on the basis of gender; racial, ethnic, cultural, or religious background; place of birth; citizenship status; ancestry; class; ability; or sexual orientation (“marginalized groups”). We make the following commitment to all editors, producers, sound designers, composers, consultants, directors, actors, and others who work with ZP (“members”):

We will prioritize inclusion and diversity when making all recruitment decisions. When creating works representing groups we do not belong to, we will make every effort to research proper representation for that group, including but not limited to: seeking out articles, blog posts, books, and other information on how to write characters from that group; researching fundamental aspects of that group/culture; (when financially feasible) hiring sensitivity consultants; and accepting all feedback from members (potential or otherwise) who are uncomfortable with how their group is being portrayed.

Potential members are always welcome to ask questions about how (or if) their identity will be represented in a podcast they are applying to work on. They may make this inquiry at any point during the application, recruitment, or production process. Inquiries will remain completely confidential. Before discussing information about current or future projects that is not currently public, we reserve the right to ask potential members to sign a non-disclosure agreement agreeing to not discuss confidential information with any outside parties. 

If a potential member finds our answers unsatisfactory, we fully welcome feedback on how to improve and how to make that member more comfortable. When 1) financially feasible and 2) the potential member is willing, we may ask the potential member to work with us as a paid sensitivity consultant; however, as our financial situation may change at any point, we want to be transparent and admit now that this may not always be possible.

The potential member will never be pressured to give that feedback if they do not desire to do so. If a potential member is uncomfortable with how their identity will be portrayed, they are allowed to pull from the application process at any point. We will not retaliate in any way, shape, or form against a potential member who leaves the application process for this or any reason. 

Potential members have the right to decline offers to join a ZP show without explanation and without fear of retribution (such as losing future opportunities to join ZP).

At any time after receiving the script for a project, members are encouraged to voice their concern if they feel at all uncomfortable with how a marginalized group (particularly their own) is being portrayed. This will be kept completely confidential and no retaliation will be taken against the member.

If a member voices a concern over the portrayal of a group that they are not a part of (e.g. a straight member voicing concern over the portrayal of a gay character), we will seek out a person who is part of that group for further feedback. 

If you believe any of these rules have been violated by a member (including the heads of production of Zebulon Podcasts), please proceed to “Reporting Process” below.

MENTAL & EMOTIONAL SAFETY

Zebulon Podcasts is invested in ensuring a safe space for all members. ZP produces podcasts intended for an adult audience that will deal with potentially triggering or upsetting content. Although the characters will be put through the emotional wringer, we want our members to be safe throughout the process! We will abide by the following policies:

Prior to the Production Process

Potential members are always welcome to ask questions about whether a particular type of potentially upsetting content will be present in a podcast they are applying to work on (e.g. “death of parent”, “partner abuse”, etc). They may make this inquiry at any point during the application, recruitment, or production process. Inquiries will remain completely confidential. Before discussing information on future projects, we reserve the right to ask potential members to sign a non-disclosure agreement agreeing to not discuss confidential information with any outside parties. 

 

If a potential member discovers that a work will contain content that they are not comfortable with, potential actions include:

 

Discussing with the potential member if there is a way that they could be comfortably involved in the project (e.g. by not being present while scenes featuring that content are being recorded or instituting a safety plan as laid out below).

Pulling from the application process and not being involved in the project at all. ZP will not retaliate in any way, shape, or form against a potential member who pulls out of the application process or declines an offer to join a show for this or any reason.

During the Production Process

ZP podcasts will often deal with heavily emotionally charged content that may be upsetting, tiring, or uncomfortable to record. These may include (but are not limited to) intense arguments/verbal fights, violence/physical fights, depictions of abuse, and portrayal of panic attacks. We intend to abide by the following process for all productions:

 

At the beginning of the production process, after final casting decisions have been made and before scripts have been sent out, we will give all members the opportunity to request a Safety Check-In. During this, we will speak privately with that member and request information on what types of content may be upsetting or triggering to them. If any of this content will be present within the show the member is working on, we will establish a safety plan to keep them from experiencing any mental or emotional harm during the production process. This may include (but is not limited to):

Giving the member content warnings about any material in the script that they wish to have forewarning of.

Arranging the recording process so that the member is not present during scenes that may be upsetting or triggering to them. If the member is voicing a character who is present in that scene, we will discuss (if possible) either re-writing the scene or having the member record their lines privately without listening to the rest of the scene as it is recorded.

Allowing members to privately record scenes that they will find uncomfortable, triggering, or emotionally intense without the presence of other actors and/or the director. 

Informing all other members of the production that they should not discuss particular topics with a member who is made uncomfortable or triggered by them, and/or informing all other members of the production that discussion of certain topics are to be confined to dedicated areas that the member can avoid (with or without disclosing to other members which member needs to avoid the topic).

After scripts have been sent out and members have read through them, people may request a second Safety Check-In to discuss if any specific content in the scripts is be upsetting or triggering to them. At this time, we will establish a safety plan as described above. Members may also request another Safety Check-In at any point while reading through the scripts.

If the member decides that they are unable to be present in the show, the member is allowed to request to withdraw from the production. This request will be honored and the member will not face repercussions. We only ask that the member make this decision as early as possible to allow adequate time to find a replacement.

If a member’s boundaries or comfort level changes at any point throughout the process, they should immediately and privately contact Ali Hylton, Rowan Sparra, or Nic Fray for another Safety Check-In.

During live recorded scenes, we will follow a “traffic light” model of consent check-ins. Before recording a scene with the director and/or other actors present, all actors will be given the phone number and/or Discord information of that scene’s director. During recording of a scene, if an actor finds themselves growing uncomfortable or triggered, they may text/message the director one of the following words):

Yellow”. This word means “I’m starting to become uncomfortable recording this scene and need to take a break.” The director will then tell all actors to take a break and privately reach out to the actor who contacted them to discuss a safe way for the actor to continue recording the scene. The director will not disclose the reason for the break to any of the other actors present during recording of the scene.

Red”. This word means “I am very uncomfortable/triggered and am unable to continue recording this scene.” The director will, again, tell all actors to take a break and privately reach out to the actor who contacted them to discuss what to do next.

If the actor believes they will be able to record their own lines privately but is unable to continue recording in a group setting, the actor will be released from that recording session and the director will continue the recording session with the other actors (if present). 

If the actor believes they are unable to proceed with the scene or record their lines at all, the recording session will stop immediately. If needed, the actor will be allowed space and time to privately process their emotions before resuming conversation. After that, the actor, writer, and director will have a discussion together to discuss how to proceed with the scene. If possible, the scene will be re-written; however, this may not always be possible. If it is impossible to change the scene in a way that preserves the plot of the story while also keeping the actor comfortable, the actor may request to be released from their contract and step back from their role. The actor will face no repercussions for this act.

During the recording of intense scenes, the director may periodically privately message/text the actor(s) in that scene asking them to state a color. They may reply with “yellow” or “red”, with the meanings of each following the definition above; or “green”, which means “I’m completely fine and can continue recording the scene with no issues”. During a Safety-Check In, an actor may request regular check-ins as part of their safety plan.

If you believe any of these rules have been violated by a member (including the heads of production of Zebulon Podcasts), please proceed to “Reporting Process” below.

HARASSMENT & DISCRIMINATION

We are committed to creating a space free of harassment and discrimination for all of our members. 

 

General harassment and discrimination includes (but is not limited to) the following acts:

 

Inappropriate or insulting remarks, jokes, statements, innuendos, or negative stereotyping targeting a specific gender; racial, ethnic, cultural, or religious background; place of birth; citizenship status; ancestry; class; ability; or sexual orientation. 

Posting or displaying images or articles containing the above content and/or symbols of hate groups (e.g. a swastika); specifically, instances that 1) do not pertain to the production and/or 2) are posted without any prior warning or consent check. 

Questions or comments about another member’s personal life that are known or ought reasonably to be known to ignore that member’s boundaries and make them feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

Threats of violence or death.

 

Additionally, sexual harassment is defined as one or a series of comments or conduct of a gender-related or sexual nature outside the boundaries of consent or production content, which is known or ought reasonably be known to be unwelcome/unwanted, offensive, intimidating, hostile, or inappropriate. It includes (but is not limited to) the following acts:

 

Unwelcome remarks, jokes, statements, innuendos, or negative stereotyping about a person’s body, attire, presentation, or gender. 

Unwelcome questions or comments on a person’s sex life, sexual habits, and sexual preferences. 

Displaying or posting sexual materials without full consent of all witnesses.

Unwelcome sexual advances, particularly including threats or coercion (e.g. an offer for a role in a show in exchange for sexual favors or threat of being cut from a show if sexual favors are not performed). 

Improvising sexual content in scenes without prior consent. If you have an idea for improvisation that includes sexual content, you may ask all who will be present during that scene (e.g. actors and directors) in advance if they would be comfortable with it. You may not attempt to coerce, pressure, threaten, or force the other members into agreeing. If any person involved in the scene does not consent, including the sexual content in the scene will be considered sexual harassment. This applies even if most people in the scene consented and only one person did not.

 

Harassment is absolutely prohibited under all circumstances. Any person found violating these policies will be subject to disciplinary action (outlined under “Disciplinary Action” below). If you believe any of these rules have been violated by a member (including the heads of production of Zebulon Podcasts), please proceed to “Reporting Process” below. 

 

If we discover that a member has committed any of the above actions outside of a ZP show they are involved in, we still reserve the right to remove that member from any production(s) they are currently involved in, potentially including a ban from all future productions by Zebulon Podcasts.

REPORTING PROCESS

If you believe a member of Zebulon Podcasts has violated any of the above rules, please report it to Ali Hylton, Rowan Sparra, or Nic Fray. They will respond privately and confidentially. If Ali, Rowan, or Nic is the one you believe has violated any of the above rules and you aren’t comfortable discussing it with them alone, you may message Ali, Rowan, or Nic stating that you have an issue with one of them and you wish to seek a neutral mediator. You do not need to give any further information at that time. We will find a neutral third party to discuss the issue and go through the below process.

 

After a report of harassment, we will abide by the following process:

 

Be Quiet. We will not jump to the defense of the accused, doubt your report, or state/imply that you shouldn’t have come forward.

Listen. We will gather as much information as we can from you in written form. You may give us the information through private Discord messages or through emails sent to zebulonpodcasts@gmail.com. If you send the information through Discord, we will make a copy of all of your messages and save them to a confidential document so that we’ll have a record of it that isn’t subject to server crashes or accidental message deletion.

Develop a Plan. We will ask you what steps you would like to see taken next and if you would like us to contact the accused on your behalf. If you do not wish us to contact the accused at this time and only wanted to make us aware of the situation, that’s absolutely fine. Steps you may request us to take include:

Reaching out to the accused and asking them to stop.

Limiting or eliminating the contact you have with the accused.

Mediating a discussion between you and the accused so that you can discuss the issue with them yourself in a safe environment.

 

Outreach. If you wish us to reach out to the accused, we will do so at this point. We will not notify the accused of your complain in any way, shape, or form until all three of the above steps have been fulfilled and you have given us explicit permission to discuss this with them. Unless you have given us explicit written permission, we will never give your name to the accused—the complaint will be described completely anonymously. At this point, in the interest of fairness, we will give the accused space to give their side of the story to us and explain the situation from their point of view. Additionally, if other parties are involved in the dispute, we may (again, only with your permission) contact them for additional information. Once we have a solid understanding of all sides of the situation, we will determine how to proceed next and if disciplinary action is required.

Disciplinary Action

At Zebulon Podcasts, we follow a “three strikes” policy in response to violation of any of the rules laid out in this document.

 

On your first violation: You will get a written warning explaining what rule you have broken and informing you that you need to stop. If you hadn’t realized you were breaking a rule, you are allowed to ask for further detail and guidance on how to ensure you do not break the rule in the future.

 

On your second violation: You will get another written warning and, in addition, we may decide it appropriate to institute a further disciplinary action or a loss of privileges. This includes but is not limited to:

Limiting or eliminating contact between you and a person you are found to be making uncomfortable, potentially including removal from the company Discord server

Limitations placed on your role or loss of responsibilities (e.g. some of an actor’s lines/scenes being cut or a sound designer being asked to give responsibility of editing some episodes to another sound designer)

 

On your third violation: You will be removed from the production. Depending on the severity of your actions, you may be permanently banned from partaking in future Zebulon Podcasts Production shows. Although we recognize that this may adversely impact our production, we are willing to make that sacrifice in the interest of keeping our members safe.

 

Please note that these are only guidelines. If a violation of rules is particularly egregious, even if it is a member’s first violation, we may deem it necessary to proceed to the second or third step outlined above. Actions that may require us to advance to a later step in the “three strikes” process include but are not limited to:

Threats of violence or death.

This includes wishing harm or death to marginalized groups, e.g. stating “All [members of a protected group] should be killed/thrown in jail/deported from the country”.

Sending nude photographs or other sexually explicit material to a person without their consent.

Attempts to threat or coerce a person into performing sexual activities.

Any violation of the above rules that we believe could not be explained by ignorance and could only be explained by intentional malice.

Example: Using an outdated word for transgender people and then immediately apologizing when corrected could just be ignorance, but wishing violence upon transgender people on the basis of their gender could not be anything but a deliberate hatred of transgender people.

 

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about any of the above guidelines, please do not hesitate to contact us through email at zebulonpodcasts@gmail.com.