More than half of all people working in the entertainment industry have been bullied or harassed at work, new research has revealed.
Early analysis of a survey carried out by the Federation of Entertainment Unions, which includes Equity, BECTU, the Musicians’ Union and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, has found that 56% of respondents have been “bullied, harassed or discriminated against” while in employment.
The survey was carried out as part of the FEU’s Creating Without Conflict campaign which aims to “challenge bullying and harassment in the entertainment industries”.
Full results of the survey, completed by more than 4,000 people, will be discussed in detail at a conference on November 19, but initial findings have revealed that, in some sectors, “unreasonable behaviour was endemic”. It found more than two thirds of respondents working in television, radio, film, and national and local newspapers had experienced “ill treatment”.
Equity says the campaign aims to “raise awareness, to work with employers to create effective policies and procedures that will protect staff and freelance workers from bullying and harassment and empower members to challenge and report incidents without fear of reprisals”.
Last month, BECTU launched an anti-bullying hotline aimed at anyone working in media and entertainment, including performers, writers and backstage staff.
Callers to the hotline are not required to leave their names, and are asked to report what has happened to them, as well as the production or employer concerned. Information will be used to build a picture of what is happening in the industry, with the findings discussed at the Creating Without Conflict conference.
The hotline was welcomed by arts consultant Anne-Marie Quigg, author of a report called Bullying in the Arts, published in 2011. A more focused survey looking at workers in theatres and arts centres alone – undertaken in 2003 – found that two in every five workers had suffered bullying.
Speaking about the Creating Without Conflict survey, she said she expected the full results to demonstrate “an upsurge in the numbers of people experiencing workplace bullying in the arts and entertainment sector”.
She said: “Ten years ago, when I conducted a survey with BECTU members, almost 40% – two in five – workers in theatres and arts centres reported being targets of bullying behaviour. At the time, this was the highest level of bullying reported in a single employment sector.
“The latest survey was aimed at a wide audience that includes people working in broadcasting, the music industry, the performing arts and television, including writers, whether or not they were union members. When the results are announced on November 19 at the conference, I fully expect the level of workplace bullying in the arts and entertainment sector to have risen.”