Grierson Awards Bans Individual Following Antisemitic Incident at Documentary Prize Ceremony

Update: Following an investigation, the person reported to have made antisemitic statements to a number of individuals at the U.K.’s Grierson Documentary Awards earlier this month has been banned from attending the ceremony again for the next decade.

“Following our investigation into reports of anti-Jewish racism and antisocial behaviour by one individual at the reception after this year’s British Documentary Awards ceremony, The Grierson Trust is imposing a ban on the individual concerned attending the awards, and other events organised by us in any capacity for the next 10 years,” a spokesperson for the trust said.

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“The Grierson Trust is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the documentary industry, and to providing a safe space for everyone at our events and programmes. We have a zero tolerance approach to racism of all kinds.”

Previously: The organizers behind the prestigious U.K. documentary prize the Grierson Awards have condemned an antisemitic incident that took place at the ceremony last week.

“We are appalled to have received several reports of anti-Jewish racism by an individual at the reception after the Grierson Awards last Thursday night,” said The Grierson Trust, the body behind the awards, in a statement on Monday evening. “We are urgently investigating these reports to decide as soon as possible on a course of action.”

“The Grierson Trust wants to make it clear to our Jewish colleagues in media and the creative arts that we stand with them to condemn antisemitism and of course to stamp it out in our industry and beyond. We are very concerned with the rise in divisive and hateful behaviours of all kinds. We are deeply committed to an inclusive, diverse industry and environment for everyone and we will not tolerate any form of racism.”

Variety understands an individual “aggressively” confronted multiple attendees at the awards ceremony in London last Thursday to berate them about the Hamas-Israel conflict after finding out they were Jewish. After the first attendee declined to discuss the subject the individual deliberately sought out another at the glittering event in central London with the sole purpose of bringing up the conflict.

The incident took place the day before the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), which saw IDFA’s artistic director, Orwa Nyrabia, applaud as three activists stormed the opening ceremony with a banner that read “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will be Free.” The slogan, which calls for the elimination of Jews from the Jordanian river to the Mediterranean sea, is widely understood to have genocidal overtones and is often used by proscribed terrorist groups including Hamas.

Nyrabia later claimed he had been applauding “free speech.”

Incidents of antisemitism have risen exponentially both in the U.S. and Europe following the Oct. 7 massacre, which saw 1,400 civilians murdered in Israel and a further 240 — including babies and the elderly — taken hostage in Gaza.

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