Female nominees and guests at this year’s BAFTAs are expected to wear black in support of the Time’s Up movement in the US. Men attending the awards ceremony who wish to show their support have been invited to wear “special pins and/or a button hole.”
Previously, nominees and attendees of the Golden Globes wore black to raise awareness against sexual harassment and to support the #MeToo movement. The proposal to wear black also follows a similar protest at US President Donald Trump's State of the Union address this week, where members of congress arrived dressed in black and wearing Time's Up pin-badges.
According to Page Six, the drive is being led by Their Finest star Gemma Arterton while the BBC reports that UK stars supporting the move to wear black include Emma Thompson, Daisy Ridley, Emma Watson, Keira Knightley, Jodie Whittaker, Emilia Clarke, Noma Dumezweni, Natalie Dormer and Felicity Jones.
A letter (via THR) that circulated around the British film and TV industry inviting those attending the awards to take part reads:
Dear BAFTA Guest,
We write to you on behalf of a collective of UK based female film and television industry leaders. We got together at the end of last year, in response to the sexual harassment scandals in our industry and beyond.
Inspired by the TIME’S UP movement in the US, we are working to continue the incredible movement this side of the Atlantic. With BAFTA being the first major film awards ceremony in Europe this year, we feel it is important to make a statement to show global solidarity and that the issue is not being forgotten, and to join hands with people across all industries who have experienced inequality and abuse.
This is why we are inviting you to wear black to the awards ceremony, to follow suit from our sisters who attended the Golden Globes. Wearing black is a strong, unifying and simple statement - a physical and visual representation of our solidarity with people across all industries who have experienced sexual harassment and abuse or have been held back due to an imbalance in power. It is also the easiest colour for the majority to wear and feel comfortable in.
Here in the UK, more than half of all women and nearly two-thirds of women aged 18 to 24 have experienced sexual harassment at work. And we hope that those of us who are privileged enough to have a platform, can use it to raise awareness of the experiences of women beyond our industry, whose experiences are often silenced and marginalized.
At this point, we are keeping things under wraps as the UK-side movement shapes up and we'll have some exciting plans to announce soon.
We wanted to personally reach out to you at this point to let you know of the colour code and we will be in touch again with more information, including talking points on why we're wearing black.
For men, there are plans for special pins and/or a buttonhole if you would like one.
If you would be interested in bringing a women’s rights, equality, workplace rights activist with you to the awards, we would love to work with you to set that up – as it was a very successful part of the Golden Globes action.
This year, Joanna Lumley is the presenter of the awards ceremony, making this the first time in over a decade that the BAFTAs have been hosted by a woman. The event takes place at the Royal Albert Hall on 18 February.