BAFTA Letter To Members Highlights “Serious Questions” Following Russell Brand Allegations

Leading UK agent Sara Putt, the new Chair of BAFTA, appeared to reference this past weekend’s coverage around criminal allegations against Russell Brand in her first letter to members. 

Putt did not mention Brand directly but wrote: “This weekend’s news has again raised serious questions about the culture of the screen industries and what still needs to change. BAFTA is supportive of the creation of CIISA, an independent standards authority for those working in the creative industries, and I encourage you to find out more about their plans.” 

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Putt continued to highlight that “it is now mandatory for UK productions to have a bullying and harassment policy in order to enter our Film, Games and Television Awards.” 

The letter to members follows The Times, Sunday Times, and Channel 4 reporting allegations that Brand sexually assaulted four women at the height of his fame. The Metropolitan Police said on Monday it had received a “report of sexual assault” in 2003 against Brand. Officers are in contact with the woman, who alleges she was assaulted in Soho, London.

Brand vehemently denies the claims and has said all of his relationships were consensual. He has not commented since publishing a video across his social media channels in which he preemptively denied the “litany” of allegations about his criminal behavior.

“The relationships I had were absolutely always consensual,” he said. “I was always transparent about that then, almost too transparent. And I’m being transparent about it now.”

Later in her welcome letter, Putt also touched on the current SAG and WGA strikes, writing that it is “a critical time for freelancers at the moment, following the downturn in commissioning and the far-reaching impact of the US strikes.” 

“The risk of losing talent who are not able to withstand this financial insecurity, including those on our talent initiatives such as Elevate, Breakthrough and Connect membership, is profound,” she wrote. 

Putt replaced producer Krishnendu Majumdar as BAFTA chair after he stepped down following the end of his three-year term. Putt is the founding head of leading UK independent talent agency Sara Putt Associates which specializes in representing behind-the-camera talent from producers and directors to heads of department and crew.

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