Two open letters have been published which call for an end to racism and the promotion of equality within the United Kingdom film and TV industry. Both have quickly gathered support from a number of individuals within the industry; together, the two letters boast a combined total of over 6,500 signatures.
The first was addressed to a number of streaming services and TV companies including Netflix, YouTube, and the BBC as well as to Oliver Dowden, the current Secretary of State for Digital Culture, Media and Sport. It was written by the members of the newly founded Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) TV Task Force, and features several concrete, actionable demands to promote equality within the industry and provide a platform for minority voices.
This letter declares that there is “a culture problem” within the film and TV industry and suggests the employment of more BAME commissioners, writers, directors, talent managers, and senior executives. It also requests the implementation of a more thorough and anonymous system for reporting workplace concerns. This letter, which has amassed over 1400 signatures, can be read in full here.
The second letter was inspired by one written by producers and writers of color in Hollywood. It demands that industry leaders “banish [their] weak excuses” and calls for the empowerment of BAME producers. This letter, which was addressed to the industry as a whole and sent to many major press outlets, collected 5000 signatures. Notable industry individuals who signed included actors Idris Elba, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and BAFTA-nominated producer Nisha Parti, who helped write the letter. Read it here.
The film and TV industry all around the world requires some serious changes in order to further equality and eliminate systemic racism. Hopefully, the publication of such widely supported letters will spur the decision to make real, concrete, long-lasting change.