Russell Brand Scandal Fails to Change Film & TV Harassment Views, Study Finds

Survey exposes deep-rooted issues in UK's creative sectors

by Zain ul Abedin
Russell Brand Scandal Fails to Change Film & TV Harassment Views, Study Finds
© Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Despite the spotlight on s-xual harassment scandals involving figures like Russell Brand, the UK's film and television industry continues to grapple with widespread harassment issues, according to recent research by the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union (Bectu).

The survey highlights a disturbing reality: nearly all workers in film and a significant majority in TV have either witnessed or experienced s-xual harassment in the workplace. The data reveals alarming statistics, with 100% of film industry respondents and 96% in TV drama reporting incidents of bullying or harassment based on s-x or gender.

This number slightly decreases to 92% among those in unscripted sectors and 83% in broadcasting. Despite these high figures, only 14% believe that the attention garnered by high-profile cases has led to better handling of s-xual harassment by employers.

Harassment Crisis Unveiled

In response to the ongoing issues, 84% of industry professionals are calling for the establishment of an independent body to investigate, report, and prevent harassment. This has led to the creation of the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA), aimed at fostering a safer working environment.

However, confidence remains low within the sector, with only 13% of workers believing that effective actions are being taken to deter such behaviors. The survey also uncovered some horrifying personal accounts. One freelancer disclosed being raped by a film director, another was shown explicit material by a presenter, and incidents of overt s-xual misconduct were observed even at work-related social events.

Amid these revelations, Bectu is advocating for stronger support from broadcasters, studios, streamers, production companies, and other creative industry bodies to fund CIISA effectively. This initiative underscores the union's commitment to combating s-xual harassment, which Bectu Head Philippa Childs describes as a "scourge on the creative industries." Moreover, Bectu has introduced a helpline for its members, providing a platform to report incidents and seek advice, underscoring the urgent need for a cultural shift within the sector to address these deep-seated issues more effectively. As the industry faces critical scrutiny, the push for meaningful change remains more vital than ever.