Under fire for Noel Clarke fallout, BAFTA joins Time’s Up to tackle sexual harassment
After facing backlash for giving Noel Clarke an honorary award despite sexual misconduct and bullying accusations against the actor, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts has joined Time’s Up U.K. in calling for better industrywide protocols to confront such problems.
In a statement Thursday, BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry said, “We join Time’s Up U.K. in calling on the industry to come together at a high-level summit to address the urgent need for a consistent and trusted industrywide approach to responding to allegations of bullying and harassment.
“As part of this, 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 organisations in response to these issues,” Berry continued.
The British film academy performed an internal review to address concerns over diversity after another year of all-white acting nominees.
The partnership comes more than a month after the arts charity awarded — and later revoked — Clarke’s prize for outstanding British contribution to cinema.
Hours after BAFTA announced plans to honor Clarke in March, the charity received several allegations of bullying and sexual harassment against the “Bulletproof” star, according to the Guardian. BAFTA sought to corroborate the accusations in the 12 days before the ceremony, saying the allegations were anonymous or second- or third-hand accounts, and consulted lawyers and a trained expert to safely mediate claims from the accusers.
Critics say the organization did not act fast enough before ultimately going through with the awards as planned. (BAFTA stated that, as a charity, it did not have the resources to properly conduct its own investigation.)
Clarke’s award was quickly undermined when 20 women came forward with their allegations in a Guardian investigation published in late April, just weeks after the BAFTA ceremony. The organization suspended both the award and the “Dr. Who” actor’s membership the same day, and BAFTA has since paused handing out special awards and fellowships. Clarke denied all but one of the allegations detailed in the Guardian’s report.
“People will say: ‘BAFTA knew, and didn’t do anything about it.’ We’ve been trying to do something about it,” BAFTA chair Krishnendu Majumdar told another industry figure on the eve of the ceremony, according to the Guardian. “In the court of public opinion we are going to be … this will destroy us.”
‘I May Destroy You’ creator Michaela Coel won the BAFTAs for miniseries and lead actress, which she dedicated to the show’s intimacy director.
Time’s Up U.K. chair Dame Heather Rabbatts told Deadline Friday that the Clarke allegations exemplify the industry’s lack of appropriate protocols to handle abuse allegations once a production is finished. “The difficulty is what happens in what I call the gray space, and the Noel Clarke allegations are a manifestation of this,” she said.
“Productions come today and they’re gone tomorrow. ... You don’t have a commissioning relationship. We need to think about what we can do in that space, because who has the responsibility?”
On Wednesday, Time’s Up U.K. called for the establishment of an independent authority to handle sexual misconduct allegations. Berry stopped short of endorsing the idea, though she emphasized the necessity of “meaningful changes to the culture and working practices to support people making complaints and better safeguard all those working in the screen industries,” according to Deadline.
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