We believe survivors
Content warning: sexual abuse, harassment and assault.
Over the past couple of days, our clients and friends have (rightly) asked for our response to the disclosures of sexual harassment and assault at Tyneside Cinema.
First up. We believe survivors. We see you. We hear you. We are with you. You have our love, respect and solidarity.
We recognise the courage of those speaking out. We’re devastated that they have to do so. We stand in solidarity with all those who have experienced sexual violence.
Tyneside Cinema first contracted us in September 2018; with a verbal agreement to support until the end of June 2020. Our Managing Director spent time with the team, in the building each week.
We weren't aware of any incidents of sexual harassment or sexual assault, and we weren't involved in the investigations mentioned.
This is not abnormal; this kind of sensitive information would only be shared on a need-to-know basis. As a contractor, we certainly wouldn’t expect to be informed.
Tyneside Cinema officially told us about a live investigation into the sexual assault of an employee allegedly perpetrated by another employee, in January 2020.
Some two weeks later, we ended our contract with Tyneside Cinema.
We currently work on a project by BBC Arts and Arts Council England called New Creatives. We have a great fondness for this project. We're so proud of the work we’ve done and the artists we’ve been able to see flourish.
In the north of England, Tyneside Cinema is a lead organisation for this project. We're now reviewing whether our involvement is appropriate.
We value Tyneside Cinema and its importance to independent film both regionally and nationally. We believe at its best it is a necessary, welcoming and inspiring cultural and community space.
We also believe it is impossible for cultural organisations to authentically exist and serve their communities if they do not also commit to social justice.
It is so incredibly important right now that the survivors are truly heard.
Remedial action is absolutely essential, mistakes and failures must be owned and real, committed work undertaken to ensure the safety of everyone in the organisation.
Systematic change is needed to address all of the experiences shared over recent days. This must not happen again.
We want to actively support and contribute to the rebuilding process for an art institution we care for deeply. So, we offer to cover the cost of Shout-Up! training in Sexual Harassment and Bystander Intervention for the whole organisation.
In addition, we support the statement made by Tyneside Cinema Staff and would encourage you to do the same if you feel like you can.
If you have been affected by sexual violence, Rape Crisis England and Wales can help you find support near you.