Bafta chief claims ‘revulsion’ at abuse in film industry will lead to change

Dame Pippa Harris has said the “revulsion” felt in the British film industry towards allegations of bullying and misconduct should lead to greater vigilance over abuse.

The producer and deputy chair of Bafta said there has been a culture shift since the allegations levelled against film mogul Harvey Weinstein, but that the fight against historic inequality must continue.

Dame Pippa, speaking as the nominees for the 2019 Baftas were announced, said there had been major progress in the time from the shock over abuse allegations to the achievements of movements such as Me Too and Time’s Up.

The film executive called on everyone involved in filmmaking to work together to stamp out the scourges of abuse and inequality.

Speaking in London, she said: “There was a huge amount of shock and really revulsion that this had been going on on our watch.”

Dame Pippa said she thinks there is no doubt the allegations about Harvey Weinstein “really tipped the balance in terms of then people feeling they were able to come forward”.

She said: “So I think that it’s really important moving forward that that story is tracked, that people don’t forget about these things, and that we’re all vigilant all the time.”

She added: “The positive you can take out of the last year is the birth of the Me Too movement, the birth of Time’s Up. These are really powerful forces for change.

Pippa Harrris, Will Poulter, Hayley Squires and Marc Samuelson attending the EE British Academy Film Awards nominations announcement (Ian West/PA)

“The more responsibility that all of us take, the sooner the problem is going to get stamped out.”

Bafta has introduced measures to ensure that bullying, abuse and inequality are tackled in the world of British cinema.  

Filmmakers hoping their creations will win one of the coveted awards must adhere to principles of behaviour, diversity and opportunity laid out by Bafta throughout the production of their films.

It is hoped the guidelines laid out by Bafta, who announced today that female-driven films such as The Favourite will be at the centre of their annual awards this year, can help improve the internal culture of British cinema.

Dame Pippa said: “I think the film industry and the films that we make need to reflect the society we live in. It can’t be that films are only speaking to one section of society.

“It’s very difficult to put your finger on. It’s clearly a historic problem and it’s a man-industry problem. It’s something we’re really keen to address.”

Dame Pippa welcomed the nomination success of Olivia Colman and her co-stars in the female-led The Favourite, and the performance of other female stars Glenn Close and Viola Davis. She added that awards have the power to create role models.

- Press Association


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