Over 800 members of UK entertainment industry sign letter demanding change after Noel Clarke allegations
Members of the film and TV industry have signed an open letter calling for change following allegations made against Noel Clarke.
The letter, which has been signed by more than 800 members of the UK industry, has been written in response to allegations of sexual assault, harassment and bullying made against the star.
In light of the claims, the letter highlighted a broader culture of sexism and sexual harassment against women in film and TV, and has called for industry-wide action to be taken.
“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,” started the letter, which was led by Meriel Beale, freelance producer and unscripted anti-bullying and harassment officer at industry union Bectu.
After being launched on social media, the letter has been signed by the likes of Sarah-Jane Crawford, Dermot O’Leary and Joe Lycett.
Following the Noel Clarke allegations, many women have opened up to each other about what it’s like working TV & Film. Here’s an open letter to the industry. Please sign and share if you feel happy to. Men too – we need you to be allies.https://t.co/19cdP4UWrK
— MerielBealeisreal 💙 (@merielbeale) May 5, 2021
The letter highlighted how the allegations against Clarke have sparked a conversation amongst women in the industry about their experiences of abuse and harassment: “From talking over us, to comments in the workplace on our appearance, to men discussing openly what they’d like to do to us, to relentless private messages, to groping, to intimidation and to sexual assault. These are the stories women have been sharing over the last few days.”
It also outlined steps that should be taken to ensure a safer, fairer working environment for women. This included hiring more women in senior positions in film and TV and asking men to call out unacceptable behaviour.
Clarke has categorically denied the accusations made by all 20 women, but issued an apology in a statement obtained by the BBC a day after The Guardian‘s article was published.
“Recent reports however have made it clear to me that some of my actions have affected people in ways I did not intend or realise,” he said, before adding: “To those individuals, I am deeply sorry. I will be seeking professional help to educate myself and change for the better.”
The actor, whose past credits include Doctor Who and Kidulthood, received a BAFTA for his Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema in April, despite the voting body being informed about the existence of several allegations against Clarke beforehand, as The Guardian reported. His award and BAFTA membership have been suspended until further notice.
Meanwhile, the Deputy chair of BAFTA defends decision to award Noel Clarke.