The allegations that have been raised against Russell Brand — who has been accused of multiple counts of sexual assault in a major investigation — have further underlined the need for an independent organization within the U.K.’s creative sector where concerns about behavior can be raised.
So claims the Creative Industries Independent Standards Authority (CIISA), the proposed body that has slowly come together over the last few years after its creation was raised by the likes of Time’s Up U.K. in the wake of various industry scandals over sexual misconduct and bullying.
In a joint investigation by The Times, The Sunday Times and Channel 4 Dispatches, four women have come forward with allegations of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse against Brand between 2006 and 2013, all of which he has denied.
“The creative industries is one of the only sectors that does not have an independent place to confidentially raise concerns about behavior,” the CIISA said in a statement on Monday. “The news this weekend further underlines the need for this critical intervention. There are no legal or technical impediments to building CIISA. It is simply about collective will.”
The CIISA, which was initiated and funded by Time’s Up UK and has former BFI exec Jen Smith as its interim CEO, said that it was now in “advanced discussions” with the U.K.’s creative sectors and was “currently developing its services and structure, which will give individuals working in the creative industries a trusted place to go for mediation, seek advice, dispute resolution and crucially, investigation.” It added that it was now “moving into preparation ahead of going live,” with further announcements said to be made shortly.
Widely discussed for several years, the idea of a standards body in the U.K. made headlines in 2021 when Michaela Coel, speaking in her BAFTA TV Awards best actress acceptance speech for I May Destroy You, praised the work of her intimacy coordinator Ita O’Brien. Time’s Up U.K. later called for intimacy coordinators to “become mandatory on set” and said it was working with the law firm Fieldfisher — which represented several of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers — to develop a new independent standards authority covering film, TV and theater.
“Time’s Up UK, which has campaigned to improve standards of behaviour across film and TV over these last five years, called for the creation of an independent standards authority back in 2021,” Time Up UK. “Since then Time’s Up UK has spearheaded this initiative supported by the Creative Industries round table set up by the then Secretary of State in the wake of yet further media stories about the abuse that Rebecca Ferguson suffered. The proposed Creative Industries Standards Authority, CIISA, will cover film, television, music and theatre. To date all of the key stakeholders have and are supporting this crucial intervention. These latest disclosures add yet more urgency to the need for CIISA.”