UK female stars demand end to sexual harassment

Britain's most prominent female stars have called for an end to sexual harassment.
Britain’s most prominent female stars have called for an end to sexual harassment.

British female actors have signed an open letter demanding an end to sexual harassment ahead of Britain’s major film awards.

The letter has been signed by prominent female entertainment stars, including Academy Award winner Emma Thompson, Naomie Harris, Emma Watson, Gemma Arterton and many others.

The letter published Sunday in The Observer says “this movement is bigger than just a change in our industry alone.”

The letter, which was also backed by over 190 entertainers, academics and activists, aligns British film stars with the campaign against sexual harassment set off by the accusations against US movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

The sexual assault claims against Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood mogul, resulted in the widespread sharing of sexual harassment stories.

Many women will attend Sunday night’s British Academy Film Awards, planning to wear monochromatic black in solidarity with victims of abuse.

According to a recent report, nearly one in five people working in Britain’s Parliament were sexually harassed or witnessed inappropriate behavior in the past year.

The February report commissioned after a series of sex scandals at Westminster, called for a new complaints procedure along with radical change of a culture that can deter some from challenging bosses and suggested forms of punishment for those found guilty of harassing their staff.

In addition, a survey conducted in October found that over half of women and a fifth of men in Britain had experienced sexual harassment at work or a place of study.

The ComRes survey conducted for the BBC found that 53 percent of women and 20 percent of men said they were sexually harassed, which ranged from inappropriate comments to actual sexual assaults.

The UK has been struggling to deal with a series of sexual abuse scandals that have raised doubts about how institutions, including the church, sports teams and the news media respond to those who are vulnerable to abuse.

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