TV: A CULTURE OF ABUSE? THE EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL TV FESTIVAL AND 5 NEWS ANNOUNCE INDUSTRY-WIDE SURVEY RESULTS ON BULLYING AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Friday 8th December 2017
TV: A CULTURE OF ABUSE?
THE EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL TV FESTIVAL AND 5 NEWS
ANNOUNCE INDUSTRY-WIDE SURVEY RESULTS ON BULLYING AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT
- 71% of those surveyed have experienced bullying at work
- 68% of those who were bullied did not report it
- 54% of those surveyed have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace
- 84% of those experiencing sexual harassment did not report it
EITF and 5 News conducted an anonymous, industry-wide survey to better understand how prevalent bullying and harassment is within television.
A total of 315 people completed the survey, including employees and freelancers from broadcasters and independent production companies, in roles ranging from commissioners and executive producers, to development producers, production managers and series producers.
The results showed that a shocking 71% have experienced bullying at work with 65% reporting that it took place in the office and 22% on set or location. Of those reporting as victims of bullying, 78% are female and 22% male and 38% are from indie sector, 31% are freelancers, 17% broadcasters, 14% other. 68% of those surveyed didn’t report it, 78% of which were concerned that if they did, they would lose their job, or it would have negative repercussions on their career.
The survey also included anonymous comments which reflect the realities of the work place:
“The stigma of reporting bad behaviour needs to be removed. If anyone (especially junior team members) complain about bullying behaviour / harassment, it is them who are isolated and struggle to find work again, rather than the perpetrator.”
“Freelancing keeps people silent because they fear that today's bully is tomorrow's boss.”
Meanwhile 54% of people have experienced sexual harassment at work, 84% of whom didn’t report it. Of those, 88% are female and 12% male and 43% are from indie sector, 30% are freelancers, 10% broadcasters, 22% other. 68% also admitted to being aware of bullying and sexual harassment happening to others at work. Alarmingly 62% of those who had experienced sexual harassment reported it had taken place in the last five years.
In a special debate, hosted by the Edinburgh International TV Festival and ITN, and supported by 5 News, journalist and broadcaster Sian Williams will be joined by TV presenter Anna Richardson, 5 News editor Rachel Corp, chief executive at UKTV Darren Childs, Senior Lecturer in Forensic Psychology Dr Afroditi Pina and former High Court Judge, Dame Janet Smith, as they examine the practical steps both organisations and individuals can take to deal with inappropriate behaviour, particularly bullying and intimidation – in the workplace, out of hours and on location.
Expert HR advice will be provided by Karl Burnett, VP Human Resources at A&E Networks and former director of HR at BBC News and Radio.
Sian Williams said: “The abuse of power is one of the most important issues facing society today. We’ve already seen how prevalent and systemic this type of behaviour has been in other creative sectors, so it is vitally important that we now turn the spotlight onto the television industry here in the UK.”
Encouragingly more than 90% said that they were confident in their knowledge of what constitutes bullying and sexual harassment, but less than half – 47% understood their rights in respect of taking action at work if confronted with such behaviour.
Proper regulation is paramount, 65% were unsure or didn’t have faith in their employer to deal with any issues, and 70% were unsure or not aware at all with the grievance process. Some comments reflected this:
“Having worked in many industries prior to my move into TV, never have I been in an industry that is so unregulated on so many levels.”
“Companies are now paying lip service to allegations by having HR departments send out trite emails. Meanwhile I can tell you of several senior staff at indies who have been formally reprimanded for bullying but nothing ever happens.”
90% did not think or were unsure whether the BBC’s Respect at Work Review, and subsequent debates around bullying, had had any impact on staff or talent behaviour in recent years. One survey respondent said:
“There is no desire to change and I don't believe recent revelations will affect anything. I saw this all before in 2012 and the big circus the BBC put on about investigating, and fundamentally, apart from putting a few heads on a stick for show, nothing changed and nothing will ever change. There is no desire for a cultural shift to do the right thing if people can ignore and get away with it.”
Festival Director, Lisa Campbell said: “As an industry we pride ourselves on reflecting social issues in our programming, yet the people behind-the-scenes making this content, are suffering themselves and nothing is being done. We need to make a change, and talking about these issues is the first step to addressing and stopping them for good.”
Please credit any stories with: EITF/5 News ‘TV: A Culture of Abuse survey’ 2017.
For more press information please contact Plank PR on 020 8995 3936.
Information for Editors:
As a Festival and a charity, the Edinburgh International Television Festival is committed to helping young people from all backgrounds gain access to the TV
Industry. It runs two young talent schemes, Ones to Watch and The Network.
Both schemes aim to ensure that the people working in television are as diverse as the audience watching it.
Survey: Full Results
- More than 90% say they are confident in their knowledge of what constitutes bullying and sexual harassment
- But less than half - 47% - understand their rights in respect of taking action at work if confronted with such behaviour
- Only half – 53% - report having an HR department or nominated person to report bullying/sexual harassment to
Extent of bullying in TV
- 71% have experienced bullying at work (of those, 78% are female and 22% male and 38% are from indie sector, 31% are freelancers, 17% broadcasters, 14% other)
- 65% report that it took place in the office
- 22% said on set/location
- 5% out of hours/ 4% at work party/4% ‘other’
- 68% did not report it
- Of the 31% who did report it, 87% said it was not dealt with appropriately/to their satisfaction
Why do the majority not report it?
- Fear of losing job/negative repercussions within career – 78%
- Concern over impact on your own reputation – 58%
- Cynicism that nothing will be done – 49%
- Unsure who to report it to – 24%
- No HR Dept – 16%
- Other 9%
- Other answers: Boss responsible for abuse/first job, only later realised it was bullying/bullying is overlooked by management
Extent of sexual harassment in TV
- 54% have experienced sexual harassment at work (of those, 88% are female and 12% male and 43% are from indie sector, 30% are freelancers, 10% broadcasters, 22% other)
- 37% report that it took place in the office
- 36% said on set/location
- 15% at work party/ 9% out of hours/2% other
- 84% did not report it
- Of the 16% who did report it, 81% said it was not dealt with appropriately/to their satisfaction
- Reasons mirror why individuals don’t report bullying, with fear of losing job/negative repercussions within career coming top with 63%
- Other answers: Senior figures laughing it off/early in career so accepted it/it was the company owner/boss
Recent or historic abuse
- 40% - recent - up to 5 years ago
- 38% - historically (5-10+ years ago)
- 22% - Currently – within the past year
Faith in employer to deal with these issues?
- No or unsure – 65%
- Yes – 35%
Familiar with grievance process?
- No or unsure – 70%
- Yes – 31%
Aware of bullying/sexual harassment happening to others at work?
- Yes – 68%
- No – 32%
- Was this reported?
- No or unsure – 71% - and only 8% who did report the incident were satisfied with the response from their employer
- Over ONE THIRD of people say their behaviour could be deemed inappropriate, or they are unsure if they have crossed a line.
- 90% do not think or are unsure whether the BBC’s Respect at Work Review/subsequent debate around bullying has had any impact on staff/talent behaviour in recent years