A “senior celebrated female exec” in the UK TV industry has been called out anonymously for “verbal and psychological bullying” as part of broadcasting union Bectu’s anonymous Unseen on Screen campaign.
The exec is one of many discussed in anonymous testimonials being published this week as Bectu raises awareness of bullying in the UK non-scripted sector for the second year in a row, having said it still receives weekly calls from people flagging bullying behavior.
In this particular account, the person described being bullied and overworked by the “celebrated exec” for six months and having to subsequently take three months off due to the impact on their mental health. During that time, the person considered leaving the TV industry altogether.
“I bore the brunt of it, tried to protect the rest of the team but I couldn’t always do so,” said the account.
“She really got to me and I am incredibly experienced. She lied to me to get me to agree to do the project, about the budget, the schedule and many other things, and was charming until I signed up. Then it quickly escalated.”
The person spoke of her “tiny team” being pushed in an intensely high-risk environment, with “no thought” for health and safety in the middle of the pandemic.
“She emailed and messaged at all hours. Nothing was good enough, she always used negative language and her feedback was undermining, aggressive, often meaningless,” she added. “I’ve been bullied a lot in TV, who hasn’t, it’s full of sociopaths, but this was by far the worst.”
A different testimonial, one of 19 from the campaign so far, featured a person working on a big entertainment show who “started having panic attacks on the way to work,” which they said eventually led to them having therapy.
The account spoke of excessive working hours and the person being “scolded” for making cups of tea or going to the toilet.
The other accounts variously describe more incidences of verbal and psychological abuse, people being screamed at, gaslighting and racism, amongst other accusations.
Bectu will continue to publish the accounts through the week, which come as Deadline revealed UK indie boss Marc Hayward was recently investigated after being accused of bullying, enforcing excessive working hours and failing to pay people on time on the set of Insight TV’s G2 Making the Squad: Fortnite Edition.