SA film and television industry responds to #MeToo claims

The South African Screen Federation (Sasfed), which represents the majority of the industry, has released a statement to City Press about the #MeToo groundswell taking place.

It reads: “Sasfed notes with grave concern the present allegations of sexual harassment/abuse within our industry circulating on social media and in the press.

“Men continue to control the industry that we work in; women have often found themselves at the mercy of men who take advantage of the power imbalances. This silences women in the face of male power. This is compounded by an industry that is largely made up of freelance professionals who are more isolated and vulnerable and do not have the support of large company legal and other resources.

READ: Khalo Matabane: Women speak out

“It is in the light of these conditions that Sasfed stands firmly behind women’s right to speak out, to be heard and supported when they claim sexual harassment and/or rape. Enduring such abuse is immensely emotionally harrowing, coming out publicly to name perpetrators makes it even more difficult to stand against violations, hence our support for the Sisters Working in Film and Television (Swift) campaign #ThatsNotOk.

“It is paramount that we implement the promise of equality and freedom contained in the Constitution and that we know our rights but also our social and political responsibilities to our fellow human beings.

“We urge the industry to clamp down on behaviour patterns that are not acceptable in terms of these rights and responsibilities and for all to stand for a just world where women have equal access and live and work in safety. We urge people to seek legal counsel and perhaps approach either Swift or Lawyers for Human Rights if they have been unfairly treated within our industry.

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July 2020

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