Keira Knightley, Naomie Harris Voice Support for Independent U.K. Body to Tackle Harassment, Bullying in Entertainment

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Keira Knightley, Naomie Harris and singer Rebecca Ferguson are among those who have voiced their support for the establishment of an independent body to tackle harassment and bullying in the creative industries.

Time’s Up U.K. and Creative U.K. are currently consulting with the entertainment and other creative industries – including music, TV, film, theatre, advertising, video games, and fashion – to discuss setting up an Independent Standards Authority (ISA) which would help protect freelancers, self-employed workers and those on short term or informal contracts.

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“For anyone to fulfil their creative potential there cannot be fear or disrespect or any kind,” said Knightley. “We are all entitled to work in safe, respectful spaces where dignity for all is upheld. I believe the ISA is an important step in helping to achieve this.”

Naomie Harris added: “No one should go to work fearful of harassment, bullying and abuse. For anyone to have their voice and reach their full potential, where we work must be safe and respectful. I believe the ISA is an important step in helping to achieve this.”

Both actors have previously revealed they have been assaulted during the course of their careers.

In 2017, Times’ Up U.K. joined with the BFI and BAFTA to release a set of guidelines to help tackle bullying and harassment.

Other creative sectors went on to adopt these principles before a cross-industry group led by Creative U.K. was formed to look at further reforms, including the creation of the ISA, which Time’s Up U.K. have been developing in collaboration with law firm Fieldfisher.

The ISA would have the ability to investigate and mediate, if required, as well as offering insight and best practice.

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries, who attended an industry roundtable earlier this year, is also supportive of the initiative as are BAFTA chair Krishnendu Majumdar and Bectu head Philippa Childs.

“This is a historic moment for the film and television industry to create a new body which will provide a just process for complainants and for those accused, to drive accountability and integrity,” said Dame Heather Rabbatts, chair of Time’s Up U.K. “The ISA is a crucial development in the fight to eradicate unacceptable behaviour and support safe, respectful and dignified working conditions for all. We are all aware that whilst there are helplines and advice, which are of course, crucially important, fear and suspicion remain and, in a sector dominated by freelancers with little or zero employment protection, and access to work being based on formal and informal networks, many continue to suffer in silence”,

“Specifically, where the complaint is historic in nature, where it relates to conduct outside work, or if there are multiple complaints, there is currently no process. Only by creating a body which stands fully independent, with processes and investigations informed by legal standards of confidentiality, can there be confidence and trust, and more broadly, for the integrity of the industry to be assured.”

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