‘We are making progress’: BAFTA unveils survey, addresses ‘defamatory’ Noel Clarke claims

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is announcing the results for their global membership survey — and it points to progress toward membership diversity. 

For the first time, BAFTA collected survey data from the academy’s members to identify areas of underrepresentation among those who vote for award winners. In the results released Friday, the survey showed women make up 37.4% of current members; 12.2% of voting members are from minority ethnic groups; 5.3% have a disability; and 9.7% are part of the LGBTQ community. 

“While there is more work to be done, the demographic of our latest intake of members demonstrates that we are making progress to ensure our membership is more representative of society,” Amanda Berry OBE, chief executive of BAFTA, said in the release. 

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BAFTA announces progress among the diversity of the academy's voting members. (Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS, AFP via Getty Images)

The uptick in representation comes as BAFTA announced overhauling changes last year, which included a promise to add 1,000 new members in two years time after the #BAFTAsSoWhite criticism. The academy set goals for a more representative membership to be complete by 2025.

BAFTA came close to meeting its goal for LGBTQ representation within the first year of changes, with a target set for 10% of members being LGBTQ, but other targetsare further from reach: 50-50 gender representation, 20% of the members coming from minority ethnic groups, and members with a disability making up 12%. 

In addition to the strides for a more diverse membership, BAFTA also put out a statement to refute “defamatory” claims made by Daily Mail and The Times reporting that the organization worked with actor Noel Clarke, who has been accused of sexual misconduct, on diversity goals.

“BAFTA made a legal complaint to both publications in defamation given there were no ‘close links’ between the Chair and Noel Clarke. Outside of BAFTA, the Chair (Krishnendu Majumdar) has never met or worked with Clarke. They are not friends or business associates,” the statement said. 

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Britain’s motion picture academy suspended Clarke in April after reports of his sexual misconduct were published by The Guardian and also suspended Clarke’s award for outstanding British contribution to cinema, awarded earlier that month in London. 

“It is important to BAFTA that these defamatory and untrue articles have been removed and apologies published as they were very seriously damaging,” the BAFTA statement said. “(The reports were) undermining the very good work BAFTA has done as an arts charity on diversity and inclusion, as well as the proper manner in which it conducted itself in respect of the Clarke matter.”

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