Noor Nanji,Culture reporter, @NoorNanji

Getty Images A picture of the actress Keira KnightleyGetty Images

Keira Knightley is among the stars who have signed an open letter to creative organisations

Stars including Keira Knightley and Ruth Wilson have signed an open letter calling on firms to support a crackdown on bullying and sexual harassment.

The letter urges creative organisations to help fund a new watchdog, the Creative Industry Independent Standards Authority (Ciisa), which will investigate complaints in the music, film, theatre and TV industries.

“Bullying and harassment claims in the industry continue abound,” the letter said.

It added that the new body is “very necessary” to help to drive change.

Actresses Cara Delevigne, Carey Mulligan, Rebecca Ferguson, Naomie Harris and Emerald Fennell have also put their name to the letter.

Male actors and performers including Guy Remmers, Jonny Sweet, Joshua McGuire and Rob Cawsey have also signed.

The BBC, Sky, ITV, Channel 4 and Viacom already made an initial payment to support Ciisa.

Getty Images A photo of the actress and model Cara DelevingneGetty Images

The actress and model Cara Delevigne has also signed the letter

“We are calling on you to make your final commitment to the creation of Ciisa… to keep our creative industries safe,” the stars wrote.

“So many of us in this industry would have loved to have an objective outside body that we could go to for advice, for mediation and in the very extreme circumstances, that we might need some outside body to hold people accountable for the bad behaviour or bad practices that sometimes happen on our sets, on our stages, behind the scenes.”

The letter said creative industry professionals from film, TV, music and theatre had recognised the need for such a body.

It added it hoped that the new watchdog would become “the blueprint across the globe for keeping our creative industries safe”.

“We want to thank those organisations that have already taken the bold step to make the final financial commitment, and we urge those that have yet to do so, to join us so that we can turn Ciisa into a reality.”

‘Sexual harassment is a scourge on the industry’

Last week, the trade union Bectu published research suggesting that 92% of creative workers have witnessed or experienced bullying or harassment at work.

It found that one in five people working in the UK’s creative industries have experienced a serious sexual assault while at work.

Bectu has also called on broadcasters, studios and streamers to financially back Ciisa.

“It’s no secret that sexual harassment remains a scourge on the creative industries,” said head of Bectu Philippa Childs.

“The mental toll and wide-reaching impacts of workplace sexual harassment can be absolutely devastating,” she said.

Ms Childs said that while a lot of “warm words” have been heard, it was clear that “a radical step-change” is needed for the sector to meaningfully tackle the issue.

“While it’s been pleasing to see organisations from across the sector signal their support for the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority, this needs to now be backed up by meeting Ciisa’s financial ask of no more than 0.1% of organisations’ annual UK turnover,” she said. “This will be critical to ensure the authority moves from its development to operational phase.”

The idea of creating a bullying and harassment watchdog for the creative industries was first floated in 2021, in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Ciisa is now in the process of finalising its governance, funding and business plan with the aim to start providing some services by the end of 2024.



Source link