Bectu welcomes progress on establishing independent body for tackling bullying and harassment in film and TV

5 May 2022

Bectu welcomes Creative UK and UK Time’s Up’s consultation with creative industries for an Independent Standards Authority (ISA) to strengthen efforts to tackle bullying and harassment and drive greater accountability across the sector.

Five years on from the exposure of Harvey Weinstein’s toxic behaviour and a year after after allegations of sexual harassment and bullying were levelled against Noel Clarke, we know that harassment, bullying and abuse of power remains prevalent in the film and TV industry.

After a year of talks involving UK Time’s Up, BAFTA, BFI and others, the industry is now in final consultation regarding setting up an independent standards authority, which would have the power to investigate allegations of abuse.

The proposal for the ISA will bring together expertise and advice and, crucially, will have the ability to investigate and drive accountability. Currently, where an individual has suffered harassment after a production has concluded, they have limited or unclear places to report, and the person complained against has no due process.

As well as conducting investigations, the ISA will also offer mediation services as many survivors do not want a formal investigation. It will also be able to offer insight and good practice from the learning that derives as well as identify gaps in provision.

During the first phase of establishing the independent standards authority the remit will initially cover film and TV, with the wider creative industries joining subsequently.

Bectu’s six demands

Late last year, Bectu launched its six demands to help tackle bullying and harassment in the film and TV industry. Aimed at production companies, broadcasters and studios, the six demands seek to prevent and address all forms of harassment and bullying and establish a culture that has zero tolerance towards bullying and harassment.

Our demands include the establishment of an external reporting body to look at unresolved historical complaints that should initiate investigations into bullying and harassment and offer advice and assistance to victims and productions. We welcome this progress on establishing the ISA as a positive step forward for the industry.

Read more about Bectu’s six demands.

Welcoming progress on establishment of the ISA, Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said:

“Everyone, including freelancers working in film and TV, should have the right to feel safe and respected at work and we should all be able to carry out our jobs free from bullying and harassment.

“The mental toll sexual harassment has on its victims is devastating and it is always preferable for issues to be resolved as quickly as possible to minimise suffering and ensure perpetrators are held to account. But it’s also important that victims have somewhere to turn for support in historical cases and when dealing with serial offenders. The Independent Standards Authority can be a positive step toward change and we hope will give workers increased confidence in raising concerns.”