UK stars mirror Hollywood and don black for Baftas

Actresses Natalie Portman, America Ferrera, Emma Stone and retired tennis great Billie Jean King arrive for the 75th Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles January 7, 2018. — Reuters pic
Actresses Natalie Portman, America Ferrera, Emma Stone and retired tennis great Billie Jean King arrive for the 75th Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles January 7, 2018. — Reuters pic

LONDON, Feb 2 — Mirroring Hollywood, some of the biggest names in British film are campaigning for an all-black dress code at this month’s prestigious Bafta awards to highlight widespread sexual harassment at work.

Top British stars from Emma Thompson to Keira Knightley have already given their support to a letter calling on industry figures to wear black at the ceremony, said Kate Kinninmont, who heads the Women in Film & Television UK group.

“We need to professionalise our industry, be more inclusive, appoint more senior women and get rid of pay inequality. Time is Up!” Kinninmont told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an email.

A big turnout in black would mirror the striking show staged by Hollywood last month, when the red carpet at the Golden Globe awards was awash with black dresses.

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) awards take place on February 18 in London, and are the industry’s top night of accolades and self-celebration.

Time’s up

The letter urging solidarity with victims of sex harassment in the workplace was printed by celebrity news website Deadline.

Kinninmont confirmed its contents and the backing of top actresses, including Gemma Arterton, Emma Watson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Daisy Ridley, Felicity Jones and Emilia Clarke.

It is intended as a show of support to the US ‘Time’s Up’ campaign, launched by more than 300 Hollywood figures in January in response to sexual assault and harassment allegations against powerful men in entertainment, politics and beyond.

The campaign comes after a slew of allegations of sexual misconduct against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein last year sparked the #MeToo campaign, with women and men using social media to share their experiences of harassment.

“Wearing black is a strong, unifying and simple statement,” read the letter, which asked men to wear special pins or a buttonhole.

“We hope that those of us who are privileged enough to have a platform, can use it to raise awareness of the experiences of women beyond our industry, whose experiences are often silenced and marginalised,” it added.

Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy The Shape of Water is leading the field this month with 12 Bafta nominations, including for Sally Hawkins who will face competition from Frances McDormand of Three Billboards to win in the Leading Actress category.

Organisers of the Baftas did not immediately reply to a request for comment. — Thomson Reuters Foundation

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