Bullying, harassment and discrimination remain rife in the U.K. screen industry, according to a new report.
Over 50% of respondents to the survey set by the Film and TV Charity reported they had experienced “bullying, sexual or racial harassment or discrimination, or other harassment or discrimination in the past year alone.”
The news will no doubt be a blow to the industry, which has renewed its efforts to tackle bullying, harassment and discrimination over the past eighteen months.
The figures are among a plethora of worrying details contained in the charity’s second report on wellbeing in the industry. The Looking Glass ’21 report is a follow up to a similar 2019 report which, according to the charity, “uncovered a mental health crisis in the U.K. film and TV industry.”
The latest report, garnered from 2,000 eligible responses, shows that work intensity and long hours (partly caused by the U.K.’s production boom) have contributed to the industry’s worsening mental health, with the number of respondents reporting work-related poor mental health rising from 63% in 2019 to 78% in 2021. Meanwhile respondents citing mental health issues caused by the industry’s “culture and values” almost doubled, rising from 29% in 2019 to 51% in 2021.
Discrimination also continues to be endemic, with over a third of Black, Asian and minority ethnic respondents reporting they had experienced racialized harassment or discrimination, causing 43% of them to consider leaving the industry altogether, while 74% of disabled respondents have considered leaving the screen industry due to the impact on their mental health.
Perhaps most damningly of all, only 10% of respondents “agreed with the statement that the industry is currently a mentally healthy place to work.”
Research for the Film and TV Charity’s new report was conducted during the summer of 2021, against a backdrop of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the U.K. production boom.
“2019’s Looking Glass report gave The Film and TV Charity the impetus to get to work to mitigate the serious concerns it found,” said Alex Pumfrey, The Film and TV Charity’s CEO. “Two years on, Looking Glass ’21 shows us that, despite stability and remarkable resilience in some areas, there is still much more that we must do – and the urgency is especially acute when we consider the strain being placed on the mental health of people in the industry from under-represented communities, including our disabled workforce and Black, Asian and minority ethnic workforce. In particular, the mental health impacts of individual experiences of racial harassment and discrimination, has been brought to the fore.”
“There is now an industry-wide conversation on mental health, and a growing commitment to from organisations large and small to improve the way we work. The support our Whole Picture Programme partners have shown in helping us to develop new interventions, including the Freelancer Wellbeing Hub and Bullying Advice Service, is evidence of that. However, as we signposted with Let’s Reset, the behaviour change campaign we launched in the autumn, we all need to follow through on those commitments to deliver the tangible change that is so clearly needed.”
“As we prepare to launch our Whole Picture Toolkit, a practical resource that will help to embed mental health and wellbeing best practice into productions, I hope we can support the change needed on-the-ground to improve mental health. But this requires the whole industry to step up to the plate, to make the change real, so that we can see meaningful improvements in the next iteration of the Looking Glass research.”
The full report can be read here.