Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley join calls for UK creative industries anti-harassment body | Movies

A collection of stellar British film industry names, including Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Naomie Harris, have joined calls to ensure that funds will be available to back a newly established independent organisation designed to combat harassment across the creative industries.

They are among the signatories of an open letter calling on companies to commit to provide financial contributions to the Creative Industry Independent Standards Authority (CIISA), which is due to begin operations in 2025. There are 25 signatories in all, including Saltburn director Emerald Fennell, Cara Delevingne, Rebecca Ferguson, Ruth Wilson and Harvey Weinstein’s former assistant Zelda Perkins.

The letter is addressed to the “creative industries” and asks for financial support for CIISA to “finally to turn this idea into reality”. “So many of us in this industry would have loved to have an objective outside body that we could go to for advice, for mediation and in the very extreme circumstances, that we might need some outside body to hold people accountable for the bad behaviour or bad practices that sometimes happen on our sets, on our stages, behind the scenes.”

The letter adds: “A single place of accountability where people can seek help, mediation, dispute resolution advice and other services is essential.”

In an interview with Variety in 2023, CIISA chief executive Jen Smith said that it would be a voluntary-funded standards authority to “investigate poor behaviour across the creative industries”, including film, TV, theatre and video games. She added: “It is very necessary to break the cycle of harmful behaviour that we know is such a significant problem across the creative industries … We’re a unique proposition and we address a void and a gap.” Smith said that CIISA would work with existing organisations, including trade unions and the police, to examine reports and hand over to the most appropriate places to achieve resolution. “If we consider this to be a potentially criminal matter … we would hand it over [to the police].”

CIISA has already received financial support from major organisations including Bafta, the BBC, ITV and Sky.

A report by Bectu, the UK’s trade union for creative industry workers, also called for support for CIISA. Bectu said its survey had found that one in five creative industry workers had experienced a serious sexual assault while at work, six in ten had experienced unwanted and/or inappropriate touching, hugging or kissing; and 85 per cent had experienced or witnessed an incident of sexual harassment in their place of work.

Bectu’s survey also suggested that existing reporting systems were little help, with more than 60% choosing not to report an incident because they were worried it would negatively affect their career.

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Bectu head Philippa Childs said in a statement: “While it’s been pleasing to see organisations from across the sector signal their support for the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority, this needs to now be backed up … This will be critical to ensure the authority moves from its development to operational phase.”

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