More than 500 actors have signed a petition urging Spotlight temporarily to suspend its membership fees during the coronavirus pandemic.
Membership of Spotlight costs £158 annually, which can be paid upfront or split into monthly instalments.
The petition states: “As the government has announced a raft of emergency reliefs to support businesses such as Spotlight but nothing to support the freelance creatives who are the entire backbone of our industry, and to demonstrate Spotlight’s stated commitment to ‘supporting… mental health within our industry’ while also reflecting the sudden lack of work appearing on the site, a gesture towards supporting their membership during this uncertain time would enable many performers to breathe more easily.”
It adds that many of Spotlight’s members are losing work and worrying about paying rent, and calls on the platform to suspend membership fees for three months for those paying by direct debit, and to extend memberships by three months for those paying annually.
Performers have taken to social media to express their concerns, with Irvine Iqbal tweeting: “You’ve been taking our subscription fees for so long and we have been loyal as your revenue stream.
“Does our loyalty not count? Is a one or two months’ subscription freeze so unreasonable during these dark times?”
Actor Gabrielle Quaye said on Twitter: “There are very few, if any, performer jobs about in the current climate. The entertainment/film industry is completely at a halt, with many actors out of work. What are @SpotlightUK even doing that we should be paying for right now?”
A spokeswoman for Spotlight said: “We’d like to reiterate that we’re asking our members to bear with us while we continue to review how best we can support them while we all face this period of uncertainty.
“While we’re continuing to see some work coming through the Spotlight platform, we’re focusing on continuing to provide engagement with casting professionals through a variety of activities, including online general meets and 1-2-1s.
“We’re also launching more online events, increasing our career advice 1-2-1s and also adding to our content and advice available via the website.”
The spokeswoman added: “Our work on improving the Spotlight digital platform continues so that we’re ready and able to serve our members in the best way as soon as the situation improves.
“We’re also keeping a close eye on announcements from the government to ensure our members are aware of all available support to our industry.”