Tyne & Wear

Newcastle's Tyneside Cinema faces abuse and harassment claims

Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle
Image caption Most of the cinema's staff are currently on furlough

Allegations of harassment and sexual abuse have been made by staff at Newcastle's Tyneside Cinema.

Nearly 200 former and current employees have signed a letter urging management to take action after the claims surfaced on social media.

The cinema has insisted it takes staff well-being and safety "very seriously".

In a joint statement, chief executive Holli Keeble and board of trustees chairwoman Lucy Armstrong confirmed it had investigated the claims.

"In no uncertain terms, as an employer we take the safety and well-being of our team at Tyneside Cinema very seriously, and strive to cultivate a culture of equality and inclusivity in the workplace," they said.

"These are very sensitive matters that mean the detail of any individual case is not appropriate for us to discuss."

Cinema staff, many of whom are furloughed and face redundancy if the cinema cannot survive the coronavirus lockdown, have criticised the charity's grievance procedures.

In a statement, the 199 current and former workers said: "We feel strongly that existing training policies, grievance procedures and mechanisms for whistle-blowing are not fit for purpose.

"We take this view based on substantial anecdotal evidence from colleagues and former colleagues.

"We do not feel that Tyneside Cinema is a safe workplace for everyone."

The statement demands a number of changes including a review of HR practices, training on sexual assault and consent and a review of staff diversity.

It added "the deep affection held by many for Tyneside and its heritage has been used to avoid addressing internal issues".

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