800 members and more of the U.K. entertainment industry have signed an open letter. They have denounced a work culture that has come into shape after multiple misconduct allegations against actor Noel Clarke.
The industry is shaken after the explosive story detailing the sexual harassment allegations against the actor, writer, and filmmaker. However, he has continued to deny all the allegations. The open letter is led by Merial Beale who is a freelance producer. She is also the unscripted anti-bullying and harassment officer at Bectu.
Merial stated that after reading the allegations of Noel, many of them within the TV and film industry started sharing their own stories. She added that his case is not the only one and is not an extreme example either. The producer stated, “After reading the Noel Clarke allegations, many of us within the TV and film industry started sharing our own stories of sexual harassment and sexual abuse. His case is not a one-off and, shockingly, is not an extreme example. It has happened to so many of us that it seems normal.”
She further added that it has happened to many of them at the hands of men in positions of power. The letter reads, “It has happened to so many of us at the hands of men in positions of power within the industry — whether industry colleagues, presenters, or actors. It has happened in plain sight.”
“It is a constant, terrifying tightrope. We are exhausted and we are angry”
Merial further detailed examples of women being asked to “lighten up” or “take a joke”. It also includes an example of women being placed in a situation that is degrading. She described it as a “constant, terrifying tightrope” as she acknowledged that they are exhausted and angry. The letter stated that all of this sums up to them being undervalued in TV. The producer added that many men will not recognize or notice sexist micro-aggressions.
“It is a constant, terrifying tightrope. We are exhausted and we are angry,” the letter states. “All of this contributes to us being undervalued in TV. Many men won’t recognize or notice sexist micro-aggressions — the low-level hum of sexism — and many women will accept it as part of the culture. It has been normalized, but it is not normal.”
Merial further urges that the time for rethinking the culture of TV and film has come. She added that it is time to end this culture that turns the other way when it comes to predators and harassers. Signatories include “Sherlock” actor Rupert Graves; Cal King, digital brand lead, MTV & Comedy Central U.K.; Bectu head Philippa Childs; broadcaster Dermot O’Leary; former Channel 4 commissioner Kelly Webb-Lamb; “Across the Universe” actor Jim Sturgess; “Duran Duran: A Night In” director/producer Zoe Dobson; Adeel Amini, chair of industry org Coalition for Change; and “The Amelia Gething Complex” writer Amelia Gething.