UK approaches independent TV and film body over bullying and harassment – ​​The Hollywood Reporter

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The UK has moved closer to creating an independent standards authority to help tackle bullying and harassment in the entertainment industries.

UK Time’s Up, a charity set up in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, has revealed it is now in final consultation on the body, having taken part in a series of confidential industry discussions over the year last, including with the government, plus BAFTA and the British Film Institute. The first phase of the authority’s creation would cover film and television, with the broader creative industries including music, theater and video games expected to join in the future.

“At our first meeting in June 2021, participants agreed to ensure codes of practice were in place for each sub-sector; existing support and signage have been improved and simplified,” said Caroline Norbury, CEO of industry lobbying group Creative UK, which led the cross-industry group involved in the talks. “Valuable commitments have been made regarding the development of training and standards to accelerate culture change. However, we also heard concerns about the existence of gaps in assistance and areas for improvement, such as improving the visibility of existing assistance, difficulties in monitoring the effectiveness of assistance and the need for continuous training.

UK Time’s Up was among the first to propose the idea of ​​an independent standards authority, which would investigate allegations and incidents and is being developed in conjunction with law firm Fieldfisher and partners Jill Greenfield and Sarah Ellson. One of the most difficult areas of concern was the protection of freelancers, the self-employed, and short-term, informal contracts.

“It is a historic moment for the film and television industry to create a new body which will provide a fair process for complainants and defendants alike, to foster accountability and integrity,” said Heather Rabbatts, director of UK Time’s Up. “The ISA is a crucial development in the fight to eradicate unacceptable behavior and support safe, respectful and dignified working conditions for all. We are all aware that while there are helplines and advice, which of course are of crucial importance, fear and suspicion remain and, in a sector dominated by freelancers with little or no job protection, and access to work being based on formal and informal networks, many continue to suffer in silence.

The new independent standards authority is being developed in close collaboration with colleagues from the Hollywood Commission, which was established in 2017 to end discrimination, harassment and abuse in entertainment. Many of the organization’s stakeholders will be headquartered in the United States, so the two organizations will be able to work together.

“As an arts charity, BAFTA supports the proposition of a truly independent and trusted body that has the authority and legal infrastructure to provide a proper process for complainants and defendants alike,” said the BAFTA chairman, Krishnendu Majumdar. “We believe the introduction of an independent standards authority is not only a welcome addition to our industries, it is essential.”

Jennifer Smith, Director of Culture and Inclusion at the BFI added: “We recognize that our workforce – made up largely of freelancers – needs to be able to report incidents and feel confident that advice and policies are put into practice on the ground. We therefore welcome the introduction of the Independent Standards Authority, a visible and truly independent resource, which will have the ability to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct, bullying or harassment and bring greater accountability to our sector.

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