TV workers write to broadcasters & UK government about racial equality

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The Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community from the television sector, has written to UK broadcasters, digital platforms and the government about taking action on racial equality.

Deadline published a four-page letter by 700 BAME TV workers, which comes in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. One of the organisers, Jacqueline Baker told the publication, “We really wanted to make a change, have an impact, and speak for the people who shared their experiences.”

She added, “For many years we have stayed silent, due to fear of being blacklisted or totally dismissed. But in the current climate we feel emboldened to say something and this time we want to be heard.”

The letter also points out stereotypical presenting and acting roles given to people from the BAME community. It mentions, “In unscripted you get the ‘nerdy’ Asian egghead in the corner, the ‘urban’ Black chat show host, the doc that sends them back to, what some might perceive, as ‘where they came from’ – rarely are they given opportunities to be on shows where they can be the silly fun one, the prestigious interview host or on a documentary that isn’t framed around their race.

“Scripted TV is even worse, plagued with stereotypes written by all white writers rooms and production teams. As a result of this, many programmes are culturally insensitive, inaccurate or veer towards insensitive portrayals of their diverse cast. Whether it’s the drug dealing inner city black youth, Muslims planting bombs and being honour killed or even the complete erasure of British Hindus and East Asians – the catalogue of scripted television does an active disservice to entire swathes of the British population.”

As well as the Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, the letter was also sent to Ofcom, Pact, BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, STV, Sky, UKTV, Netflix, Amazon and YouTube.

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