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Equity launches investigation into industry sexual harassment

The union is launching an investigation to find solutions to combat harassment in the theatre industry

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Maureen Beattie, Equity Vice President
© Dan Wooller

Trade union Equity is launching an investigation to find practical solutions to combat sexual harassment in theatre, film, TV, audio and new media industries.

Maureen Beattie, actor and Equity Vice President and Christine Payne, Equity's General Secretary, will form a group with the intention of making members aware of the union's ability to support people in cases of sexual harassment.

The group will also meet with UK performing arts schools and discuss and review with employers regarding their harassment and bullying policies.

Union members will be asked for suggestions to combat harassment and the culture of fear that often prevents people from reporting incidents.

Conclusions from the investigation will be published in the new year.

The move comes following the Royal Court's day of action, where anonymous stories of industry harassment were told on the main stage, and a code of behaviour was subsequently drawn up. The responses come following allegations against key theatre industry figures after the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Beattie said: "This is a key moment for the industry to harness the energy generated by those courageous enough to speak out about their appalling treatment. We will do all that we can to ensure that the supportive statements made by those with power in our industry are followed up with concrete and real action that will bring about the radical change needed to make our industry safer for all creative workers."