Racism is rife in the UK TV and film industry, according to a Bectu survey that found the vast majority of ethnic minority staffers don’t feel like their complaints are taking seriously.
More than 350 UK TV and film workers, two thirds of whom were white, were surveyed by the broadcasting union and 61% of ethnic minority respondents reported experiencing racism at work, with 59% saying they had witnessed racism and 57% saying racism had impacted their career progression.
The survey responses also indicated that current racism reporting mechanisms are ineffective and revealed an overwhelming lack of confidence with the way in which broadcasters and trade unions handle reports of racism.
A meagre 4% said their racism complaint had been “dealt with effectively” when they raised concerns with a broadcaster, with the figure rising to a still-low 12% if escalated to a trade union.
The survey follows publication of Bectu’s Race to be Heard report in late 2020, which pointed to racism within the UK broadcasting industry as a widespread and common experience and recommended the establishment of an industry-wide racism reporting body.
“Our findings confirm that reporting of racism in the broadcasting sector, and the handling of reports, remains inadequate and it’s clear that reform is desperately needed,” said Bectu Head Philippa Childs. “Our survey particularly demonstrates that more work is needed to educate people about subtle forms of racism, including micro aggressions, that remain rife in the sector.
“It is now the job of industry leaders to listen to our demands and formulate a racism reporting body. It is not too late to tackle racism in broadcasting, and we will maintain pressure until we see real progress.”
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