"Call It!" app launches to empower film and TV workers to report workplace bullying and harassment

December 9, 2021
Pair of hands using mobile phone

In a year when reports of workplace bullying and harassment in the UK film and TV industry have garnered media attention, “Call It!” aims to hold executives and senior producers to account by making it easier to report incidents.

Background to the app

Earlier this year, Bectu conducted a survey of its members for the BBC’s “File on 4” programme. [1] The results were suggestive of extensive bullying and sexual harassment in the film and TV industry. Around half of those who reported experiencing bullying or harassment did not report the instances as such for fear of losing out on employment opportunities. The report followed various news stories about such issues in the industry as well as movements such as “Time’s Up” and “#MeToo” seeking to raise awareness of such issues in wider society. Against this background, a director and two film producers have taken matters into their own hands and created an app to help film and TV industry workers report harassment, bullying and abuse in the workplace.

Business impact

If a crew member uses “Call It!”, executives or senior producers on set will receive an anonymous overview of what happened.  It is hoped that once senior individuals receive the information and are more aware of the issues that can arise on their sets, action will be taken to remind cast and crew that bullying and harassment will not be tolerated.  If issues persist or there are a large number of complaints, it can be presumed that there will be an onus on bosses to take action, whether this is in the form of training sessions or investigating the complaints further. The app will also direct users to their employer’s specific workplace policies and provide contact details for an individual to whom they could make a complaint (should they decide to waive their anonymity). Production companies should ensure that they have clear policies and that there is an individual in place to whom any reports can be made. Having signposts to such policies is likely to become more important for producers as broadcasters move to tackle bullying and harassment in the workplace. For example, it was reported in October that the BBC will require producers to confirm that robust respect at work policies and safeguarding contacts are in place as well as making anti-bullying and harassment training mandatory before shooting starts.

If the app is successful in achieving its objective of empowering film and TV workers to report negative workplace experiences, it may lead to further calls for the industry to address a seemingly ubiquitous problem. “Call It!” will mean that executives and senior producers cannot claim to be unaware of what occurs on set.  

Overview

In its current form, the app asks staff to answer three questions every day throughout a project. A traffic light system gives users the option to answer the question “How were you treated at work today?” with green for being treated well, orange for okay and red where they felt they were treated badly.

Data collected by the app will be stored in a dashboard which will allow production company executives to track the mood and wellbeing of their workforce. “Call It!” will also point individuals making reports to organisations that can provide support appropriate to each incident.

By directing workers to workplace policies, the app aims to raise awareness amongst the industry’s workforce as to the protections to which they are entitled thereby promoting a more transparent workplace

Currently, “Call It!” is being trialled in a range of UK-based production and post-production companies involved in television programmes and feature films. A UK-wide launch is expected later this year.

In addition, the anonymised data collected by the app will be collated and submitted to the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity at Birmingham City University. The details of the relevant project will also be removed from the data sent. By analysing the data, it is hoped that targeted interventions can be developed in order to improve workplace conditions across the industry.

“Call It!” was developed by Sauce, based in Hull and backed by donations from the Film and TV Charity, Sara Putt Associates, Directors UK as well as private donors.

Lisa LoganLisa Logan
Lisa Logan
Lisa Logan
-
Partner
Sarah LovewellSarah Lovewell
Sarah Lovewell
Sarah Lovewell
-
Trainee Solicitor

News & Insights