Fury Over A White-Washed BAFTA Nomination List Amidst Black Lives Matter Protests
BAFTA announced its nomination list for top prizes in British television this weekend. And in a now-unsurprising set of moves, the list is disappointingly white-washed and disproportionately male. The nominations faced a huge backlash from many women and POC (People of Colour) working in the industry.
Aside from the acting categories, where the men and women categories are already specified, male contenders make up for more than 70% of the line-up. Almost 67% of those are White men. Only 3% of the males nominated are BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic). Even less in numbers are BAME women. And this is just in the fiction programme category. The statistical record for the factual category is even worse. The nomination consists only one BAME woman, again with more than 70% of the contenders being White men.
Aside from the acting categories, where the men and women categories are already specified, male contenders make up for more than 70% of the line-up.
Public Complaint Letter
This nomination list has led to a group of 100 campaigners to draft a public complaint letter. These campaigners, known as We Are Doc Women, are calling for improved representation and future prioritizing of not just female, but BAME artists as well. The letter is to go out later this week.
For 13 years, no woman director has been celebrated as a winner in the factual directing category. The campaigners are arguing about more than just the unfairness of the judging procedure. They are also pointing towards the racism and sexism prevalent in the structures of the industry itself. Most network television pressurize production houses to give their works to established directors, who are usually white men. The Guardian recently reported on a female programme maker who cites receiving a list of only 12 male directors to select from. The campaign group acknowledges that BAFTA is merely a reflection of the wider bias that exists in the structures of the industry and society.
A spokesperson for Bafta gave out a statement: “While we can see progress in many areas of the television award nominations, there are others where significantly more is required. The awards review we announced earlier this year will scrutinise this. We have also been piloting diversity standards for the television awards this year, with a view to formal implementation from 2021 onwards.”
In Context of the Black Lives Matter protests
This response comes in amidst the mass anti-racism protests that have started taking place in cities across the UK. These protests erupted in support of the uproar that followed George Floyd’s killing on 25th May in Minneapolis, USA.
Tens of thousands have been pouring onto the street, defying curfews and warnings from politicians. In Bristol, people pulled down a statue of the 17th century slave trader Edward Colston on Sunday. The crowd then pushed the bronze into a harbor. The statue of Winston Churchill in Westminster was also later spray painted with the word racist written all over. There were reports of the streets reverberating with chants of “enough is enough” as the protests continued into a second weekend.
Also Read: Women Directors Who Made Waves In 2019
Photo Credit: WIktor Szymanowicz/NurPhoto/ AFP
Dyuti Gupta is an intern with SheThePeople.TV