Emma Watson has teamed up with the BFI to combat bullying and harassment

Posted by
Emily Reynolds
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites
A campaign to prevent harassment and bullying has been launched across the entertainment industry. 

Bafta, BFI and Equity have all contributed to the plan – and the BFI has said that in future it will only fund projects that sign up to the guidelines. Films will also have to adhere to the guidelines if they want to be eligible for Bafta awards. 

The guidelines mean that every film set will have at least two people, one male and one female, trained to deal with harassment and bullying, and a new phone line for those working in film and television. Workers will be trained to handle allegations, “encourage witnesses to speak” and help them seek help. 

The issue of harassment in the entertainment industry has been under the spotlight for several months following revelations against Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein and more. 

Hundreds of allegations have been levelled against Weinstein – most recently by Salma Hayek, who told Oprah Winfrey in an interview that he had threatened to “break her kneecaps”. 

The guidelines span television, film and the games industry – and have been backed by a number of high-profile stars including Emma Watson, Jodie Whittaker, Gemma Arterton and James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli. 

“These principles are important because up until recently there were no guidelines, there was no protocol for someone that had been sexually harassed in the entertainment industry and I know this to be a fact because I’ve asked for principles, I’ve asked to see guidelines and no one could give them to me,” Watson said. 

“No one could send me - ‘okay, here’s the protocol that we follow when someone’s had this experience’ - which I found shocking.”

Emma Watson is one of many who have backed a new set of guidelines designed to combat harassment in the media.

And BFI chief executive Amanda Nevill said that the principles had received an “instantaneous and enthusiastic response across the whole of the industry”. 

“This has been the most fantastic example of the industry - both the people in front of and behind the camera, all the big organisations behind it - welcoming this as a way we can come together,” she said. “We aspire to an industry which is absolutely free of this.”

“Everyone has the right to feel safe at work and people can only thrive when they operate in a respectful and tolerant environment so that they can make the most of their creative talents,” Margot James, minister for digital and the creative industries said. “I welcome the BFI’s anti-bullying and harassment guidance and the collective efforts of the wider sector which is an important first step to ensure change.”

Alex Pumfrey, chief executive of the Cinema and Television Benevolence Fund, said that the “horrifying revelations of harassment and abuse in our industry add to the under-reported incidence of stress, anxiety, health and mental health issues, and financial difficulty that can affect anyone”. 

Images: Rex Features