Tyneside Cinema taken to tribunal over sexual assault claims

Grace Piercy reports on the latest sexual assault claim made by a Tyneside Cinema employee

Grace Piercy
17th September 2020

A former Tyneside Cinema employee, who claims she was raped by a colleague, is taking the charity to tribunal.

The woman, who can’t be named, claims she was sexually assaulted following a staff night out and has said her mental health was significantly damaged by her experience. She states she has “recently been diagnosed with PTSD by my GP, not because of the act, but more because of the cinema's response to what happened." 

"I think that's because I've had to go over the story again and again, but not dealt with in a sensitive manner. The cinema made me feel like what happened to me wasn't serious."

The cinema made me feel like what happened to me wasn't serious.

The cinema has been accused by multiple former staff members of having a culture of sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace. 

The assault happened several years ago, but the woman came forward with her experience last year when more allegations of abuse within the charity came out. The victim stated: "I didn't come forward [earlier] because another person who made similar claims was ostracised and made fun off, so I didn't feel comfortable at the time and I didn't know where to raise it.” 

When she did raise it with management, they responded during her shift. The woman claims she was asked to relive the assault whilst working at the bar - which was full of customers at the time.

"At first I was shocked and taken aback that it was just happening. I think I was in shock that it was just happening [in the bar]," she said. "I should have said this is an inappropriate place for this to happen, but it had taken so long to even get to the point of having a meeting that I didn't raise it.

"But to me, this was a clear message that this is not important." 

Northumbria Police investigated the woman's claims and questioned a 30-year-old man.

He has since been released with no further action to be taken.

The woman has joined others in demanding management at Tyneside Cinema step down due to their perpetuation of a culture of sexual abuse in the workplace.  

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