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Screen Industries Unite around new Anti-Bullying and Harassment Principles

14 February 2018
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New Set of Principles and Guidance developed with organisations across the film, games and television industries including BFI, BAFTA, BECTU, Equity, Pact, The Production Guild, Women in Film & TV, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, the UK Screen Alliance, UK Interactive Entertainment

  • Support from actors Emma Watson, Gemma Arterton, Jodie Whittaker, Gemma Chan, and producers Barbara Broccoli, Rebecca O’Brien and Alison Owen
  • New Film & TV Support Line from the CTBF for people working in film and television will complement Equity’s service for actors
  • Training provided to upskill designated people to handle issues on and off-set

The first Set of Principles and Guidance to tackle bullying and harassment, specifically tailored to the screen industries is published today in response to the urgent and systemic issues revealed over past months. Galvanised by a determination to eradicate bullying and harassment and support victims more effectively, the guidance has been developed by the BFI in partnership with BAFTA and in consultation with organisations including guilds, unions, industry member bodies and key agencies as well as employees and freelancers across all roles. From April, a new Film and TV Support Line from the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund will be set up, free of charge for anyone working in the film and television industry.

The Set of eight Principles (see Notes to Editors for full list) cover a shared responsibility to respect others, adopt a zero tolerance approach to bullying and harassment, adhere to the laws around equality and health and safety, protect victims and witnesses, respect confidentiality, ensure that rigorous processes are in place for reporting and value inclusivity. The Principles and Guidance will be incorporated in the BFI’s Diversity Standards, promoting inclusion and representation across the industry and are available at BAFTA previously announced that the Diversity Standards will become part of the eligibility criteria for the British categories at the Film Awards in 2019.

Emma Watson, actor and activist, said: “Led by the BFI and BAFTA, the industry has come together to agree these Principles and Guidance – developed by people who understand the subtleties of the hierarchy on a film set and what it’s like to work strange, unsociable hours. I hope these Principles become second nature for everyone; they are not just about protecting individuals but are also an important step in embracing a greater diversity of voices – and eventually having an entertainment industry that actually represents the world we live in.”

Margot James, Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries said “Everyone has the right to feel safe at work and people can only thrive when they operate in a respectful and tolerant environment so that they can make the most of their creative talents. I welcome the BFI's anti-bullying and harassment guidance and the collective efforts of the wider sector which is an important first step to ensure change.”

Amanda Nevill, BFI CEO, said: “The collective determination of so many of us, individuals and organisations, to make changes to create a better safer working environment for everyone working in the screen industries has been extraordinary. It speaks volumes about the positivity at the heart of our industry, and I thank our many partners for their commitment, their invaluable expertise and the urgency they brought to this process to address this critical issue. This clear and simple guidance is for all, and in also becoming part of our Diversity Standards – which we strongly encourage all sections of the industry to adopt – it is an important step in becoming the industry I believe we all truly aspire to be: inclusive, fair, open and offering opportunity equally to everyone.” 

Caroline Waters, Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said “We’re pleased to see the BFI and BAFTA taking an important first step in addressing bullying and harassment across UK screen industries, ahead of our own recommendations for reform on harassment, specifically sexual harassment, due to be released next month. It’s vital we have safe and inclusive working environments for everyone.”

Amanda Berry, Chief Executive of BAFTA said: “These Principles and Guidance are the result of a monumental cross-industry effort in the face of some difficult truths. BAFTA is committed to promoting excellence and creative collaboration in film, games and television, and we believe that everyone has the right to work in a safe professional environment.  It is essential that there is a shared understanding of respectful, inclusive working practices that enable everyone to succeed.”

Alex Pumfrey, CEO of the CTBF said: “Film and TV can be an amazing industry to work in. However, the horrifying revelations of harassment and abuse in our industry adds to the under-reported incidence of stress, anxiety, health and mental health issues, and financial difficulty that can affect anyone. As the charity supporting those working in film, cinema and TV, we know just how devastating these experiences can be for individuals, and damaging to our industry as a whole. We are pleased to be able to announce the opening of a new ‘Film & TV Support Line’ as a source of independent and confidential advice, free of charge, for all those working in any area of film, cinema and TV. With the backing of the BFI, The Production Guild and other supporting partners, this will be a vital resource for those in times of need – or who simply want a listening ear. We hope anyone from any area or role, and issues big or small, will get in touch. We want to help make a difference.”

Taking a zero-tolerance policy on bullying and harassment at every level and in all areas of the industry, the Principles and Guidance specifically address the nature and structure of the screen industries, which rely on a considerable freelance workforce. It promotes a positive, respectful and productive workplace culture and clearly defines inappropriate behaviour, with the aim of preventing and prohibiting conduct that may cause harm, be detrimental to individuals or expose organisations to legal action.

The Guidance is designed to provide support and empower both employers and employees and provide clear and practical information for employers, covering understanding the law and their responsibilities and ways to provide good quality training, how companies and individuals can develop their own policies and how to recognise and challenge inappropriate behaviour.

Specific measures will be recommended including appointing two designated workers on and off set (preferably from all genders) to be trained to handle issues and allegations, ensure workers understand their rights and know how to seek help and support. They will encourage and support witnesses to step up and speak, and outlines how to report criminal activity. The BFI and BAFTA will work with industry partners to offer training and advice for those with designated responsibility for dealing with bullying and harassment on-set, in film, TV or in video games studios.

The Film & Television Support Line which is being developed by the CTBF in partnership with the Production Guild and is also being supported by the BFI, will be open for the industry to call from April 2018.   The Film & TV Support Line has been created as an industry-wide source of independent and confidential help for people affected by a range of issues including bullying and harassment. It will be operated 24/7 by professionally trained staff with expertise and experience in supporting people facing different difficulties from harassment, to support for depression and anxiety, debt and money advice, specialist addiction counselling, bereavement counselling, legal advice and financial assistance.  Access to the Film & TV Support Line is free at the point of contact. Follow-up specialist support tailored to an individual’s needs will be available, dependent on financial circumstances and industry service criteria. The CTBF is inviting industry partners to support and promote the Film & TV Support Line.  The service will provide a valuable resource to those working across the film and television sector, particularly the large proportion of self-employed and freelance workers who may be without other support networks.

To create a necessary step-change in the industry, genuine and visible commitment from senior leaders across the screen industries is essential. This is why the Guidance and Principles have been developed with, and endorsed by, a broad range of partners including BBC Films, BECTU and Sector of Prospect, British Film Commission, British Society of Cinematographers, Creative England, Creative Scotland, Creative Skillset, the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, Directors UK, Equity, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film4, Film London, Independent Cinema Office, Into Film, Northern Ireland Screen, Pact, The Production Guild, Sheffield Doc/Fest, UK Interactive Entertainment, UK Screen Alliance, Women in Film & Television (UK), and Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, amongst others across the sector. The Principles and Guidance will be featured in Creative Skillset’s upcoming Skills Passport pilot launching in the spring. The information has also been produced in accordance with advice recommended by workplace experts, Acas, the independent body that provides trusted advice and best practice to employers and employees, and with Challenge Consultancy, specialists in equality, diversity and inclusion training and policy development.

The Guidance will be reviewed every six months to ensure it is fit for purpose and is positively addressing the needs of the industry. The Principles and Guidance will also be embedded into the BFI Diversity Standards – a guide to improving inclusion and representation on and off-screen – which the industry are strongly encouraged to adopt. BFI-funded initiatives and activities have to commit to the Diversity Standards and have become an exemplar for UK film securing commitment from BAFTA, Film4 and BBC Films across their film activities.   Inclusion and representation is central to the BFI’s strategic priorities and BFI2022, its five year plan for UK film, which is underpinned by new Diversity Targets for BFI funding awards and its internal staffing, which will formally be in place from April 2018.


Bullying and harassment have no place in our industries. These Principles aim to eradicate such abuse. They can also help employers meet legal requirements and offer a shared vision to promote and maintain a safer, more inclusive workplace environment for everyone working within the screen industries. All employers, employees, officers, workers, agency workers, trainees, volunteers, trustees and freelancers should adhere to the following principles:

  1. Everyone is responsible for creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace that is positive and supportive.

  2. We recognise that harassment may be unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.

  3. Those of us who are employers accept our responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

  4. We do not tolerate bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment, and will ensure that processes are in place for the reporting and investigation of these serious issues.

  5. We recognise that bullying and harassment can have significant adverse impacts on the productivity, long-term health and well-being of affected people and we will work to eradicate them.  This will mean providing adequate protection for complainants and victims, and, where bullying or harassment is found to have occurred, taking appropriate action against bullies or harassers.

  6. We value inclusivity, appreciate difference, welcome learning from others, and consider people equal without prejudice or favour. We build relationships based on mutual respect. We will all work to give and receive feedback in a constructive way, which we know will improve creativity and productivity.

  7. We understand that reporting bullying or harassment can be intimidating. We will respect confidentiality where possible and aim to make the process of reporting clear and straightforward. If anyone comes forward to report behaviour which might amount to bullying or harassment, we will endeavor to investigate objectively.   Individuals who have made complaints of bullying and harassment or participate in good faith in any investigation should not suffer any form of reprisal or victimisation as a result. 

  8. We will respect each other’s dignity, regardless of the seniority of our role in an organisation.

Notes to the Principles

These Principles have been commissioned by the BFI and BAFTA working in partnership with BBC Films, BECTU and Sector of Prospect, British Film Commission, British Society of Cinematographers, Creative England, Creative Scotland, Creative Skillset, the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, Directors UK, Equity, Ffilm Cymru Wales, Film4, Film London, Independent Cinema Office, Into Film, the Motion Picture Association of America, Northern Ireland Screen, Pact, The Production Guild, Sheffield Doc/Fest, UK Interactive Entertainment, UK Screen Alliance, Women in Film & Television (UK), and Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and other organisations, together with Challenge Consultants (specialists in equality, diversity and inclusion training and policy development). They have also been produced in accordance with advice recommended by workplace experts, Acas.

The BFI will expect all projects that seek to benefit from their public funding, or associate with our industry organisations named above, to sign up to these Principles and adopt a zero-tolerance approach to breaches of the Principles.

What are the Principles?

These Principles should be read in conjunction with the relevant Guidance Notes. Together, they provide information about bullying and harassment in the workplace. Above all, they intend to set the tone of behaviour that is essential in the screen industries, and they define and aim to prohibit behaviour that may cause harm or detriment to individuals and expose organisations to legal action.

By outlining specific boundaries of appropriate behaviour, we intend to help organisations, all employers, employees, officers, workers, agency workers, trainees, volunteers trustees and freelancers their workers and freelancers to create a positive tone and culture.

Why are the Principles important?

Understanding what constitutes unacceptable behaviour is an important step in establishing an inclusive culture for all aspects of the screen industries. The high proportion of freelance and casual workers in the screen industries makes it especially important to ensure that they are covered by these Principles. Everyone working for a company or an organisation, or on a project or production, should be fully aware of the expectations that relate to acceptable behaviour and recognise that the manner in which they perform their role is just as important to ensuring success as technical competence or creative ability.

Commitment from Industry Leaders

It is essential to have a genuine commitment from senior leaders across the screen industries to help create an inclusive culture. Visible endorsement of these Principles indicates a zero-tolerance approach to bullying and harassment. We encourage all employers to actively promote the Principles.

Making the Principles accessible

The Principles should be made available to everyone working within an organisation or on a project with such organisations, including senior leaders such as heads of department and managers, as well as remote workers, freelancers and casual workers. They can be distributed in print format and electronically via email or online posting, making them as prominent as possible to everyone and in as many different formats as possible. All employees, workers and freelancers should be given a copy of the Principles along with their contract and asked to sign a declaration to uphold the Principles at the beginning of any work. All contracts with employers, employees, officers, workers, agency workers, trainees, volunteers, trustees and freelancers should include provisions along the lines of the following:

  • The individual shall comply with these Principles (as amended from time to time). 
  • Breaches of the Principles may lead to disciplinary action and/or termination of the contract.
  • Individuals should familiarise themselves with the Principles and the Guidance and should act in accordance with the information and advice.

The Set of Principles has been commissioned by the BFI working in partnership with BAFTA and with the input of leading screen sector industry organisations and Challenge Consultants (specialists in equality, diversity and inclusion training and policy development) and aligned to to Acas advice in this area.

The organisations which have supported the development and shaping of the Set of Principles and Guidance include:



BBC Films


British Film Commission

British Society of Cinematographers

Creative England

Creative Scotland

Creative Skillset


Directors UK

Edinburgh International Television Festival



Ffilm Cymru Wales

Film London

Independent Cinema Office

Into Film

Northern Ireland Screen


The Production Guild

Writers’ Guild of Great Britain

Women in Film & TV

Sheffield Doc/Fest

Ukie (UK Interactive Entertainment)

UK Screen Alliance

Notes to editors

VT of Emma Watson DISCUSSing the new Set of Principles and Guidance available for media download AND BROADCAST below:


Judy Wells, Head of Press and PR, BFI

020 7957 8919 / 07984 180 501 / [email protected]  

Tina McFarling, Corporate and Industry PR Advisor, BFI

07879 421 578 / [email protected]

Colette Geraghty, PR Advisor, Industry & Corporate, BFI

020 7173 3256 / 07957 864 362 / [email protected]



The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is a world-leading independent arts charity that brings the very best work in film, games and television to public attention and supports the growth of creative talent in the UK and internationally. Through its Awards ceremonies and year-round programme of learning events and initiatives – which includes workshops, masterclasses, scholarships, lectures and mentoring schemes in the UK, USA and Asia – BAFTA identifies and celebrates excellence, discovers, inspires and nurtures new talent, and enables learning and creative collaboration. For advice and inspiration from the best creative minds in working in film, games and television, visit For more, visit

About the BFI

The BFI is the lead body for film in the UK with the ambition to create a flourishing film environment in which innovation, opportunity and creativity can thrive by:

  • Connecting audiences to the widest choice of British and World cinema
  • Preserving and restoring the most significant film collection in the world for today and future generations
  • Championing emerging and world class film makers in the UK - investing in creative, distinctive and entertaining work
  • Promoting British film and talent to the world 
  • Growing the next generation of film makers and audiences

The BFI is a Government arm’s-length body and distributor of Lottery funds for film. The BFI serves a public role which covers the cultural, creative and economic aspects of film in the UK. It delivers this role:

  • As the UK-wide organisation for film, a charity core funded by Government
  • By providing Lottery and Government funds for film across the UK
  • By working with partners to advance the position of film in the UK.

Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter.

The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.