Review highlights 74 recommendations for Tyneside Cinema

Harriet Metcalfe on the long-awaited review of Tyneside Cinema

Harriet Metcalfe
22nd October 2020
Image: Joe Molander
Content warning: sexual harassment, assault, abuse
A report on Tyneside Cinema was published by independent review company Turning Point today, outlining 74 recommendations for the Cinema. The report has been in preparation since July, after multiple members of staff came forward with allegations of workplace sexual harassment and bullying.

To compile the report, Turning Point sent out 171 questionnaires (of which 100 were returned), and held 43 discussions and a HR desktop review of previous investigation cases. It also received 16 statements and over 850 qualitative quotations.

In a video summarising the findings, the leader of the review team, Dave Barrett, thanked those involved for being "open and straightforward in their views", appreciating that "for some people, recounting their story was a very challenging experience".

21 issues were found overall, with 'sexual harassment and abuse', 'bullying, care and respect' and 'pressure and stress' being among six presenting concerns. These were the issues staff discussed with Turning Point.

Meanwhile, 'HR support and management' and 'mental health' were among 10 complicating factors, or issues relating to the Cinema's culture and ways of working. 'Leadership capability' in 'trustees, executives and managers' was one of five deep underlying issues, or issues that were foundational to the operation.

"It was common knowledge new female staff would be targeted. It was known than no-one would listen."

Synthesised quotation from the report

Barrett highlighted a synthesised quotation from the report that "sexual harassment at the Cinema was well known. Women working there knew who the alleged perpetrators were, and it was common knowledge new female staff would be targeted. It was known that no-one would listen, or nothing would change if they raised it."

To emphasise this point, Turning Point revealed that 45 people had spoken negatively about sexual harassment and abuse at the Cinema. 120 had spoken negatively about bullying, care and respect.

Turning Point concluded that the "Board of Trustees has failed in their duty to delegate and monitor their responsibilities appropriately and this has resulted in staff not being adequately protected from harm".

As an immediate response, Turning Point recommended the implication of a zero tolerance approach to harassment and bullying of any kind, as well as further changes to the Board of Trustees. Further suggestions include ensuring that staff receive "key pieces of training to deal with safety and risk issues", and creating a culture of "listening, engaging and collaboration" between managers and staff.

In response to the 74 recommendations outlined in the report, Tyneside put out a statement on social media, apologising to anyone affected by the culture of the workplace. The statement says "the Cinema has already commenced the process of change and reform."

The Cinema also reiterated its commitment to implement every recommendation, and "publicly update on progress every three months via the Tyneside Cinema website".

The Save Tyneside Cinema campaign tweeted their plans to review all recommendations in order to create a response. The organisation say they already have questions to ask, and are awaiting reactions from other boards, such as the British Film Institute (BFI) and Film Hub North.

Featured Image: Joe Molander

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AUTHOR: Harriet Metcalfe
English Literature BA student. Loves film, TV, books and coffee. Thinks "Thor: The Dark World" gets too much hate. Twitter: @hattiemetcalfe

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