British screen industry launches guidelines about harassment

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and the British Film Institute (BFI) on Wednesday issued the ...

Posted: Feb 14, 2018 4:17 PM
Updated: Feb 14, 2018 4:17 PM

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and the British Film Institute (BFI) on Wednesday issued the first set of guidelines to tackle harassment and bullying in the screen industries.

In response to what they referred to as "urgent and systemic issues revealed over the past months," the partnership put forward eight key principles in consultation with organizations, employees and freelance workers across the entertainment sector.

The guidelines outline a zero-tolerance policy toward abuse and promote a more inclusive workplace for employees working within the screen industries.

Other measures include appointing two designated workers trained to handle issues both on- and off-set. A review is also due to take place every six months to ensure the guidance is addressing the needs of the entertainment industry.

This comes less than two weeks after BAFTA formally terminated Harvey Weinstein's membership, which was suspended in October of last year following allegations of rape and sexual harassment against the American movie mogul.

Actresses including Rose McGowan, Gwyneth Paltrow and Uma Thurman have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, leading to campaigns including the #metoo movement.

Through a spokeswoman, Weinstein has repeatedly denied "any allegations of nonconsensual sex."

Actor and activist Emma Watson backed the British entertainment industry's plans in a video outlining the proposed measures.

She said: "Led by the BFI and BAFTA, the industry has come together to agree these principles and guidance -- developed by people who understand the subtleties of the hierarchy on a film set and what it's like to work strange, unsociable hours."

"I hope these principles become second nature for everyone; they are not just about protecting individuals but are also an important step in embracing a greater diversity of voices -- and eventually having an entertainment industry that actually represents the world we live in," Watson said.

The 2018 BAFTA Film Awards ceremony will take place in London on Sunday, with reports that British actors will follow the lead of the Golden Globe awards with a red carpet "blackout" that saw participants wear black to show their solidarity with victims of sexual harassment.

"These principles and guidance are the result of a monumental cross-industry effort in the face of some difficult truths," said BAFTA chief executive Amanda Berry. "BAFTA is committed to promoting excellence and creative collaboration in film, games and television, and we believe that everyone has the right to work in a safe professional environment."

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