#UnseenOnScreen: testimonials 5 and 6

17 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 Five
“Whilst on an unpaid/expenses only internship, I was subjected to verbal abuse in front of a busy production office filled with my peers. None of my superiors stood up for me and it left me feeling isolated and alienated.  

A misunderstanding had led to the Director assuming that rushes had been misplaced, and his immediate conclusion was that I must be the reason. He came storming down the corridor huffing ‘where is she, where is she?’. I heard him coming before he entered the room. He stormed straight over to me in the middle of a busy production office, and screamed ‘I gave you one f****** job, where are they?’ He gave me no time to reply or explain myself. I led him straight to the rushes, which had been overlooked. He continued to tell me how I was wrong. I was not apologized to, and not a single one of my superiors/line managers or peers stood up for me.

I was new to the industry at the time and felt unable to tell him that his actions were inappropriate and explain myself. Instead, I felt like I became someone who everyone stared at when I entered a room, wondering what on earth all that was about and assuming I had been in the wrong. I felt unsupported and alienated from the rest of my peers. I knew that this individual worked in news and I decided then and there that I would never work in the news sector.  

Looking back now, almost 10 years later, I am astounded that not one of the line managers stood in and calmed the situation down. No-one asked me if I was ok. He was never approached about his behaviour. It made me think, for how many years did he get away with treating people like that. How many others did he put off a career in the sector?”

Account Six
“I was working on a very famous reality TV show when I both witnessed and was a victim of bullying from a more senior staff member. I was on the show for a few months and in the end had to leave before the end of my contract as I felt so stressed I ended up getting ill and having to go to hospital. I really wish I’d called it out at the time, particularly when I saw the other member of staff being bullied too, but I was unaware of the procedure for reporting and, in the moment, if this was even bullying – sometimes the staff member would be randomly nice, which left me so confused. But now I realize how unacceptable all of her behaviour was.”