EXCLUSIVE: BAFTA has become the latest influential UK industry body to call for a high-level summit to address historical sexual misconduct allegations amid a growing #MeToo movement in television.
BAFTA joined Time’s Up UK in requesting that key industry players gather to find a way of improving accountability when survivors of bullying and assault make complaints about their experiences, sometimes years after they have occurred.
In a statement sent to Deadline, BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry said: “We join Times Up UK in calling on the industry to come together at a high-level summit to address the urgent need for a consistent and trusted industry-wide approach to responding to allegations of bullying and harassment.”
It follows Time’s Up yesterday calling for the creation of an independent authority for dealing with sexual misconduct allegations. This authority, it said, would be a safe space for people to report allegations and it would have the power to investigate when the evidence points to a pattern of behavior.
Berry stopped short of endorsing the idea of an independent sexual misconduct unit, but said she wants the industry to make “meaningful changes to the culture and working practices to support people making complaints and better safeguard all those working in the screen industries.”
She added: “BAFTA is accelerating its work with industry partners to encourage employers to adopt the bullying, harassment and racism prevention guidance that we developed in partnership with the BFI and other organizations in response to these issues.”
A BFI spokesperson said: “We’re engaged in a number of ongoing conversations around this important and complex area.”
BAFTA’s intervention is significant, given the organization has itself been caught in the crosshairs of historical sexual misconduct claims against Noel Clarke. It awarded Clarke the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award earlier this year, despite being made aware of allegations of sexual misconduct against the Bulletproof star.
BAFTA made efforts to look into the anonymous accusations it received, but was unable to resolve the matter before handing over the award. It is currently reviewing its procedures around honoring people with special awards, but has repeatedly stated that, as an independent charity, it does not have the power to investigate historical sexual misconduct allegations.
Separately, Time’s Up UK has also called for intimacy coordinators to become mandatory on UK shoots. It comes after I May Destroy You creator Michaela Coel highlighted their work while accepting her BAFTA TV Award for best actress on Sunday.