Disney has been signed up to a new commitment, along with many other American and British studios, to tackle workplace bullying, harassment and inappropriate behaviour.

Equity has launched a Statement of Commitment Against Bullying, Harassment and Inappropriate Behaviour in TV, which includes 21 major organisations taking part, including AMC, Apple TV+, BBC, The Casting Directors’ Guild, Channel 4, Channel 5, The Co-operative Personal Management Association, Disney, Equity, HBO, Intimacy Directors & Coordinators, ITV Studios, Northern Ireland Screen, Pact, Paramount, Personal Managers Association, S4C, Screen Scotland, Sky, TAC, and Warner Bros.

The Statement of Commitment follows a ground-breaking first meeting of representatives from these organisations, called by Equity, to discuss how to contribute to a respectful workplace and to agree how concerns should be raised if there is inappropriate behaviour.

The group is committed to creating a working environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect – and bullying and harassment is not tolerated – with any issues raised swiftly responded to and action taken.

To deliver this Commitment, the group discussed and agreed:

  • Safe casting and audition spaces: professional recruitment standards to be adopted and auditions undertaken in appropriate workspaces.
  •  Policies: producers to have clear respect at work policies which include a process for making and addressing concerns and complaints of bullying and harassment.
  • Accessible information: information shared with cast and crew about how concerns can be raised either if they are the victim of or see inappropriate behaviour (e.g. information on call sheets and displayed in communal areas, access to support and whistleblowing helplines, details of the safeguarding contact for each production).
  • Anti-bullying and harassment training: to be completed by cast and crew before they start work.
  • Safeguarding contact: a suitably trained, senior member of the production team who can be contacted and who can proactively make any necessary adjustments.
  • Nudity and simulated sex acts: notification to be given in advance and in writing about the scope and extent of nudity and/or simulated sex requested, followed by discussion and agreement with the artist. For scenes of an intimate nature an intimacy co-ordinator to be engaged if acceptable to the actors involved.

The Statement of Commitment does not signal the end of work to tackle bullying, harassment and inappropriate behaviour, but that of work to be done: to “move towards a culture in which everyone working in the TV industry feels able to call out unacceptable behaviour and that nobody is above being challenged: no one is untouchable.”

Finally, the group agreed that “everyone has a responsibility for creating an inclusive and respectful culture – and that by working together we can deliver real and lasting change in the industry.”

In a statement, Lynda Rooke, Equity President, said:

“On behalf of every performer who has experienced bullying and harassment during their on screen working lives, I welcome this commitment by industry representatives to create a safe working environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. But to establish an inclusive and respectful culture requires actions not just words, and I encourage all those working in this sector to recognise their individual responsibility to report inappropriate behaviour and unite against any pressure to remain silent on these issues.”

With Ralph Lee, Director of Content at BBC Studios Productions, adding:

“It is important that as an industry we work together to ensure there is a safe and respectful working environment within the production community. Signing up to this Statement of Commitment will strengthen our ability to continue to improve making this happen.”

Disney+ has announced that it will be creating 60 local productions in Europe by 2024 as it continues to work with outstanding creators and premium producers as part of the company’s commitment to source, develop and produce original productions in Europe.

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk