Study finds British film and television industries guilty of discrimination
by Naman Ramachandran
12/04/2012 - A new study has sent ripples around the British film and industries by accusing them of being insular and discriminating against the working class, women and ethnic minorities. Professor Irena Grugulis, of Durham University, and Dr Dimitrinka Stoyanova (pictured), of the University of St Andrews, spent three months observing an independent film and television company in the north of England, interviewing 77 people including producers, directors, camera operators, location managers, researchers, make-up artists and PAs. Of those interviewed, 64 were middle-class, and 58 of them were in high-quality work, defined by the researchers as feature films and terrestrial or satellite TV productions. Of the 13 working-class interviewees, six were working on low or medium quality work, defined by the researchers as pop promos, corporate videos or community television.
The study says that the working class, women and minorities are “discriminated against because they were not trusted insiders. They did not have the right accents, hairstyles, clothes or backgrounds to join the best networks.” The job disbursement process is often a closed shop. The researchers say, “Most jobs were gained through friends and friends of friends. Openings were rarely advertised and producers and directors tended to rely on the grapevine.”
Of the 77 interviewees, only 29 (38%) were women, though all except two were involved in high quality work. Although people from ethnic minorities were well represented among the 77, with 11 interviewed, four of these were involved in low or medium quality work.