Racism “Rife” in U.K.’s Film, TV Industry, According to Survey

Racism and the underreporting of racism is a major problem in the U.K.’s film and TV sector, according to a new survey by broadcasting union Bectu.

After gathering the responses of hundreds of ethnic minority staffers in the industry, the Race to be Heard survey found that more than 60 percent had reported experiencing racism at work, with the vast majority underwhelmed by the manner in which broadcasters and trade unions handled the reports. Many said that their complaints had either not been taken seriously or were completely ignored.

The survey followed the publication of Bectu’s Race to be Heard report in late 2020, researched and written by producer and academic Marcus Ryder, that pointed to racism within the U.K. broadcasting as a widespread and common experience, and recommended the establishment of an industry-wide racism reporting body. But the new findings show that very little has been achieved since then.

According to the survey:

  • 61 percent of respondents reported experiencing racism at work
  • 59 percent of global majority respondents reported witnessing racism at work
  • Just 12 percent of those who reported racism to a trade union felt their complaint had been dealt with effectively
  • Just 4 percent of those who reported racism to a broadcaster felt their complaint had been dealt with effectively

“Our findings confirm that reporting of racism in the broadcasting sector, and the handling of reports, remains inadequate and it’s clear that reform is desperately needed,” said Bectu head Philippa Childs. “Our survey particularly demonstrates that more work is needed to educate people about subtle forms of racism, including micro aggressions, that remain rife in the sector.”

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Childs added: “This latest survey indicates that little has changed since we last called for an independent racism reporting body and highlights the pressing need for such a body. Everyone, unions included, need to do better in helping to stamp out racism in the industry and this can only be done through collaboration and partnership between UK broadcasters and entertainment unions. It is now the job of industry leaders to listen to our demands and formulate a racism reporting body. It is not too late to tackle racism in broadcasting, and we will maintain pressure until we see real progress.”