Collecting her prize in-person, Coel said: “Thank you for your existence in our industry; for making the space safe; for creating physical, emotional, and professional boundaries so that we can make work about exploitation, loss of respect, about abuse of power without being exploited or abused in the process.
“I know what it’s like to shoot without an intimacy director, the messy, embarrassing feeling for the crew, the internal devastation for the actor, your direction was essential to my show. And I believe essential for every production company that wants to make work exploring themes of consent.”
In a press conference following the BAFTA TV Awards, Coel added that O’Brien allowed her BBC and HBO show, which follows sexual assault survivor Arabella, to film “harrowing” scenes about sexual abuse in a completely safe space for both cast and crew.
“If you don’t have people like Ita on set when you’re shooting things like that, it’s quite thoughtless, inconsiderate, and it shows a lack of mindfulness,” she added.
Coel has previously spoken out in support of the 20 industry women who leveled sexual misconduct allegations against Noel Clarke. “Speaking out about these incidents takes a lot of strength because some call them ‘grey areas’. They are however far from grey. These behaviours are unprofessional, violent and can destroy a person’s perception of themselves, their place in the world and their career irreparably. I have shared to show solidarity, to express my belief in them and to stand with them in their indignation,” she wrote in April.