#UnseenOnScreen: testimonials 11 and 12

20 November 2021

As part of Anti-Bullying week, we are sharing anonymous testimonials from workers in the TV and film industry. Collected by our Unscripted branch as part of their #UnseenOnScreen campaign, the testimonials allow us an insight into the harsh realities of working in the film and TV industry, and just how common bullying and harassment in the workplace really is.

Account Eleven
“I was bullied, belittled, and disregarded by senior members of a company whilst on a large project that went out this year. It was a large logistically difficult show so I put up with a lot until the line producer and I were screamed at my an exec and DOP the first time I met them. We raised this with the HOP at the time, and the other Execs and Creative director of the company were well aware of this. I was then ignored when I raised multiple H&S issues with all the execs, HOP, and creative director who were also on location and encouraging unsafe work practices. I ended up walking off with no notice because my mental health was in tatters and I was having suicidal thoughts.  I raised an official complaint to the company, owner company and channel but was told being screamed at was ‘robust discussions’. I’ve lost multiple friends in the process who still work there. I’ve had to have therapy to deal with my health after this production and every time I have to discuss it I get adrenaline shakes and anxiety attacks. It’s completely altered how I see my work, and TV in general. I keep reacting badly to any aggression/frustrations in my current project because of it. I want to leave the industry now and am actively retraining to work elsewhere. My health isn’t worth this.”

Account Twelve
“My first incident of workplace bullying was from my production manager. We were working on a beloved British program. I was a new coordinator entering the industry, and didn’t quite know what my role entailed. But being  a fast and dedicated learner, figured with a bit of guidance I would figure it out. If I didn’t do things exactly to my production manager’s liking, she would make a scene of dragging me out of the room into the hallway to tell me off. This simple act in front of 20 other colleagues was just as demeaning if not more than being told off directly in the room. These little dragging out sessions happened multiple times a day. When we reached the filming stage, she would use me as a scapegoat in front of the crew. She would make me the butt of the jokes. On top of it, she was misusing petty cash. She would buy herself bottles of wine and other personal items for her use only, using the cash and have me reconcile the floats hiding the wine as gifts and the other items as props. I felt extremely uncomfortable doing it. But didn’t feel I had any standing to actually report her behaviour. After a long day of filming I would return home, only to have her call me and have her screaming down the phone about how useless I was  — usually drunk, for an hour at a time. I lived my life on egg shells on that production and more often than not would cry after every shoot. It was the most stressful few weeks of my life at that point, and I didn’t understand how everyone else on the cast and crew were so lovely and kind, and this one person dominated my every waking moment treating me like I was a piece of rubbish. I had no one to go to make a formal complaint. The company didn’t have an HR department, and it was my first official credit. When I finally left the company, I asked to use my PM as a reference. She agreed. I found out that she wasn’t giving an actual reference only say I worked with her, which cost me my livelihood for months. I still fear running into her in the industry. I definitely feel like I had PTSD after working with her, and my confidence in myself and my abilities took a long time to recover after that.”