BAFTA Blackout: Stars Urged To Wear Black At Film Awards Ceremony

By Peter White, Nancy Tartaglione

Richard Young/REX/Shutterstock

Black is the new black, in the UK as well as the U.S. Female nominees and guests attending this year’s BAFTA Film Awards are expected to wear black in solidarity with their American counterparts. A letter, sent “on behalf of a collective of UK based female film and television industry leaders” and obtained by Deadline, is being circulated around the British film biz inviting women to wear black to the ceremony (see below).

This comes after the red carpet at the Golden Globes was taken over by a flood of black designer outfits sported by actresses raising awareness against sexual harassment and supporting the Time’s Up movement.

Members of the British film industry are expected to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their American colleagues. Fashion designers and brands are scrambling to replace their original choices with the color of the moment, according to Deadline sister publication Women’s Wear Daily. Deadline understands Their Finest star Gemma Arterton has been involved in the campaign.

The BAFTA Awards take place at the Royal Albert Hall in London on February 18. Among this year’s nominees are Allison Janney, Annette Bening, Frances McDormand, Margot Robbie, Sally Hawkins, Saoirse Ronan, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lesley Manville and Octavia Spencer.

This comes after BAFTA chair Jane Lush said that the organisation “wholeheartedly endorses” how the Golden Globes dealt with changing times. Ab Fab veteran Joanna Lumley has been set as the host of the 2018 EE British Academy Film Awards, following the departure of Stephen Fry

In announcing the nominations for this year’s event, BAFTA also revealed that it was looking to stamp out “pernicious” working practices that “thrive in outdated power structures” in the British film and television industries and has teamed up with a number of organisations to do so.

Here’s the letter that’s gone out to the industry:

“Dear Guest

We write to you on behalf of a collective of UK based female film and television industry leaders. We got together at the end of last year, in response to the sexual harassment scandals in our industry and beyond.

Inspired by the TIME’S UP movement in the US, we are working to continue the incredible movement this side of the Atlantic. With BAFTA being the first major film awards ceremony in Europe this year, we feel it is important to make a statement to show global solidarity and that the issue is not being forgotten, and to join hands with people across all industries who have experienced inequality and abuse.

This is why we are inviting you to wear black to the awards ceremony, to follow suit from our sisters who attended the Golden Globes. Wearing black is a strong, unifying and simple statement – a physical and visual representation of our solidarity with people across all industries who have experienced sexual harassment and abuse or have been held back due to an imbalance in power. It is also the easiest color for the majority to wear and feel comfortable in.

Here in the UK, more than half of all women and nearly two-thirds of women aged 18 to 24 have experienced sexual harassment at work. And we hope that those of us who are privileged enough to have a platform, can use it to raise awareness of the experiences of women beyond our industry, whose experiences are often silenced and marginalized.

At this point, we are keeping things under wraps as the UK-side movement shapes up and we’ll have some exciting plans to announce soon.

We wanted to personally reach out to you at this point to let you know of the color code and we will be in touch again with more information, including talking points on why we’re wearing black.

For men, there are plans for special pins and/or a buttonhole if you would like one.

If you would be interested in bringing a women’s rights, equality, workplace rights activist with you to the awards, we would love to work with you to set that up – as it was a very successful part of the Golden Globes action.

In Solidarity.”

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