Monday 16 December 2019

Lack of diversity in movie industry protest held outside Baftas ceremony

Protesters from Creatives of Colour Network gathered outside the Royal Opera House in London
Protesters from Creatives of Colour Network gathered outside the Royal Opera House in London

Protesters have staged a peaceful demonstration outside the Royal Opera House where the Baftas ceremony is being held against what they describe as a lack of diversity in front of the camera.

Members of the Creatives of Colour Network lined up beside the red carpet with actor Leon Herbert, who appeared in the films Batman and Alien 3.

Competing with the screams of excited fans, the group chanted "cameras, lights, action, diversity and satisfaction" to promote their message.

Members held a banner which read: "The TV and film industry are male, pale and stale. In fear of diversity, opportunity and inclusion. We want a quota system."

The protesters handed out leaflets stamped with the hashtag Bafta Blackout, which they have been using on social media.

Among the onlookers was Chidi Ejimofo, 48, a consultant from Bromley, Kent.

He said he was supporting the protest on behalf of one of his daughters, who wants to get into the creative industries.

He said: "I have a real problem with the fact that the film industry, as I see it, at present doesn't actually represent the groupings that you already have in society.

"I find it astonishing that in a country that has so many talented actors and directors and people within the industry from ethnic minorities, you have such a gross under-representation when it comes to handing out awards, and I think that stems from the voting committee that they have in place.

"While I can see, with this campaign, that they are asking for a quota system, personally I don't think that is the way to go.

"I think quota systems can entrench other problems. However I think we should be looking for a fair playing field and that certainly isn't the case at present with the voting system that they have."

Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry has said she is "supportive" of the demonstration and that the awards do not feature more black and ethnic minority nominees because the film industry "isn't diverse enough".

She said the charity would be setting membership targets on diversity and indicated those who decided on nominations should be "qualified" and working in the film industry.

PA Media

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