London's West End
London's West End

A new report has revealed damning evidence that bullying is rife in the creative industries.

Commissioned by Equity and the Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU), the Creating Without Conflict report surveyed over 4,000 workers, ranging from "household names" to those at the beginning of their careers.

Of the respondents, half of those questioned (56%) said they had been bullied, harassed or discriminated against at work.

Eight out of ten women (81%) who reported bullying, harassment and discrimination said their gender was a factor. The respondents reported incidents from lewd comments to sexual assault and commented on pressure from superiors to enter sexual relationships.

Bullying and harassment was recorded at all types of workplaces, including publicly-funded national arts, music and media institutions in the UK and Ireland.

"For some, getting the job of their dreams became a nightmare because of the way they were treated by managers and colleagues", said the report.

Managers were found to be the main perpetrators, though half the respondents identified co-workers and colleagues as offenders.

'Culture of silence'

Creating Without Conflict makes a series of recommendations to tackle the issue. These include better training for workers and managers in dealing with "unreasonable behaviour", as well as confidential hotlines for freelance and employed workers.

According to Equity and the FEU, "The results showed shocking levels of ill-treatment and inappropriate behaviour and a culture of silence, with only a third of those suffering bullying and harassment reporting the incidents."

Other recommendations include the provision of more clear guidance for freelancers, and increased union recognition in the workplace so that reps can better represent victims.

Equity's general secretary Christine Payne said: "We often hear excuses that the demands of creating art and entertainment are such that a difficult and sometimes unsafe working environment is necessary. This is simply not the case.

"We do not believe working people should be made to suffer for their art and we need to draw a line in the sand. On one side is good management, motivation and leadership and on the other is harassment, bullying and abuse."

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