Performing arts and entertainment trade union, Equity, has launched a Statement of Commitment Against Bullying, Harassment and Inappropriate Behaviour in TV with the backing of major media organisations.
The Statement of Commitment brings together 21 major organisations in the TV industry – both in the UK and internationally – who pledge to tackle workplace bullying, harassment and inappropriate behaviour.
The organisations that have developed the Statement of Commitment are: AMC, Apple TV+, BBC, The Casting Directors’ Guild, Channel 4, Channel 5, The Co-operative Personal Management Association, Disney, Equity, HBO, Intimacy Directors & Coordinators, ITV Studios, Northern Ireland Screen, Pact, Paramount, Personal Managers Association, S4C, Screen Scotland, Sky, TAC, and Warner Bros.
The Statement of Commitment follows a meeting of representatives from these organisations, called by Equity, to discuss how to contribute to a respectful workplace and to agree how concerns should be raised if there is inappropriate behaviour.
The group is committed to creating a working environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect – and bullying and harassment is not tolerated – with any issues raised swiftly responded to and action taken.
To deliver this Commitment the group discussed and agreed:
Safe casting and audition spaces: professional recruitment standards to be adopted and auditions undertaken in appropriate workspaces.
Policies: producers to have clear respect at work policies which include a process for making and addressing concerns and complaints of bullying and harassment.
Accessible information: information shared with cast and crew about how concerns can be raised either if they are the victim of or see inappropriate behaviour (e.g. information on call sheets and displayed in communal areas, access to support and whistleblowing helplines, details of the safeguarding contact for each production).
Anti-bullying and harassment training: to be completed by cast and crew before they start work.
Safeguarding contact: a suitably trained, senior member of the production team who can be contacted and who can proactively make any necessary adjustments.
Nudity and simulated sex acts: notification to be given in advance and in writing about the scope and extent of nudity and/or simulated sex requested, followed by discussion and agreement with the artist. For scenes of an intimate nature an intimacy co-ordinator to be engaged if acceptable to the actors involved.
The Statement of Commitment aims to now “move towards a culture in which everyone working in the TV industry feels able to call out unacceptable behaviour and that nobody is above being challenged: no one is untouchable.”
Finally, the group agreed that “everyone has a responsibility for creating an inclusive and respectful culture – and that by working together we can deliver real and lasting change in the industry.”
Lynda Rooke, Equity President, says: “On behalf of every performer who has experienced bullying and harassment during their on screen working lives, I welcome this commitment by industry representatives to create a safe working environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. But to establish an inclusive and respectful culture requires actions not just words, and I encourage all those working in this sector to recognise their individual responsibility to report inappropriate behaviour and unite against any pressure to remain silent on these issues.”
Ralph Lee, Director of Content at BBC Studios Productions, says: “It is important that as an industry we work together to ensure there is a safe and respectful working environment within the production community. Signing up to this Statement of Commitment will strengthen our ability to continue to improve making this happen.”
David Osborn, Chief People Officer at ITV, says: “It’s crucial that all contributors to our industry work together to combat bullying and inappropriate behaviour so ITV Studios are proud to support this Statement of Commitment.”
Pact said: “Pact is pleased to be part of this initiative co-ordinated among stakeholders to help combat bully and harassment for those in front of the camera. It is our members’ aim to make the entire production chain a safe and considerate working place for creative and skilled personnel.”
Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content at Sky UK and Ireland, says: “Across all our productions, we are committed to providing a safe, collaborative and inclusive work environment. We fully support this new industry commitment, convened by Equity, that underlines and reinforces our existing policy and approach to ensuring respect in the workplace.”
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