Over the past few weeks, more allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct in the entertainment industry have surfaced. Most notably, in relation to Noel Clarke, a well-known actor, producer, screenwriter and director.
On 29 April 2021, The Guardian published testimony from 20 women who accused Clarke of verbal abuse, bullying and sexual harassment. His alleged misconduct includes claims that he secretly filmed naked auditions. Following these allegations, former students of the London School of Dramatic Art came forward and reported that Clarke had encouraged them to remove their clothing during improvisation workshops before the school’s founder was alerted.
At the time of the allegations Clarke was appearing in a five-part ITV drama, Viewpoint, the finale of which was taken off air. ITV, BBC and Sky have since cut all ties with Clarke. BAFTA also made the decision to suspend Clarke and his outstanding contribution to British cinema award, which he had received only a couple of weeks earlier. Following the allegations, Clarke was reported to have said “I vehemently deny any sexual misconduct or wrongdoing”. He went on to say that he will be seeking professional help to educate himself and change for the better.
Shortly after the allegations, the spotlight fell on John Barrowman, a household name having appeared regularly on family favourites such as Dancing on Ice (on which he is a judge) and Doctor Who (playing the character of Capt. John Harkness). Barrowman was accused of repeatedly exposing himself on the set of Dr Who and Torchwood. Barrowman apologised for his misconduct and insisted that it was only ever intended to be in good humour and not sexual harassment. Barrowman was then removed from a live Dr Who event.
What is being done to fight the problem?
In the wake of the allegations against Clarke, hundreds of members of the British Entertainment Industry signed an open letter, "calling for an end to a culture that turns a blind eye to predators and harassers and asking for change”.
The letter, which was shared on social media, was written by Meriel Beale, a freelance producer and officer of the trade union Bectu. The letter made it clear that the case against Clarke is not an isolated incident nor an extreme example, as many have suffered at the hands of men in positions of power within the entertainment industry. The letter asked men to point out bad behaviour and for more women to hold senior positions in the industry.
Sadly, the list of household names in the entertainment industry either prosecuted or being investigated for sexual misconduct continues to grow and it does not appear that lessons are being learned. We have previously published blog posts looking at specific cases of sexual harassment and abuse in the entertainment industry, including the Harvey Weinstein case.
There's still more to do...
Whilst it appears that steps are being taken to acknowledge and address sexual harassment and abuse in the entertainment industry, clearly, there is more to do. Anyone experiencing sexual harassment, sexual abuse and or any form of bullying in the workplace, whether within the entertainment industry or not, should report it straight away and if necessary, to the police. In certain instances, it may give rise to a civil claim which can be a vehicle for appropriate redress.
Emmott Snell Solicitors have considerable expertise in assisting victims of sexual abuse who wish to pursue civil compensation claims. If you have suffered abuse (recent or historic) and wish to explore a possible civil compensation claim, then please don’t hesitate to call a member of our team on 01234 360140.