U.K. performing arts and entertainment trade union Equity has issued a statement of commitment against bullying, harassment and inappropriate behavior in TV.
The statement is developed by 21 major U.K. and international organizations, including AMC, Apple TV+, BBC, The Casting Directors’ Guild, Channel 4, Channel 5, The Co-operative Personal Management Association, Disney, Equity, HBO, Intimacy Directors & Coordinators, ITV Studios, Northern Ireland Screen, Pact, Paramount, Personal Managers Association, S4C, Screen Scotland, Sky, TAC, and Warner Bros.
Equity called for a meeting of these organizations and together, they arrived at a pledge to creating a working environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect — and bullying and harassment is not tolerated — with any issues raised swiftly responded to and action taken.
In practical terms, this means the creation of safe casting and audition spaces, where professional recruitment standards will be adopted and auditions undertaken in appropriate workspaces; and producers will have clear respect at work policies, which include a process for making and addressing concerns and complaints of bullying and harassment.
Further, information will be shared with cast and crew about how concerns can be raised either if they are the victim of or see inappropriate behavior, for example, information on call sheets and displayed in communal areas, access to support and whistleblowing helplines and details of the safeguarding contact for each production; and anti-bullying and harassment training will be completed by cast and crew before they start work.
In addition, a safeguarding contact: a suitably trained, senior member of the production team who can be contacted and who can proactively make any necessary adjustments, will be nominated; and for nudity and simulated sex acts notification will be given in advance and in writing about the scope and extent of nudity and/or simulated sex requested, followed by discussion and agreement with the artist. For scenes of an intimate nature an intimacy co-ordinator will be engaged if acceptable to the actors involved.
Lynda Rooke, Equity president, said: “On behalf of every performer who has experienced bullying and harassment during their on screen working lives, I welcome this commitment by industry representatives to create a safe working environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. But to establish an inclusive and respectful culture requires actions not just words, and I encourage all those working in this sector to recognise their individual responsibility to report inappropriate behaviour and unite against any pressure to remain silent on these issues.”