“Strong leaders and managers” are required to call out bad behavior in the UK TV industry, ITV CEO Carolyn McCall said today as she addressed the Russell Brand allegations and slammed the government for its economic policies.
Although Brand has never worked on ITV and the BBC and Channel 4 have been far more in the firing line since the allegations, McCall said the management of talent is as important as victims speaking up to stop a repeat of Brand’s alleged behavior.
“You have to have strong leaders and managers who will say ‘that’s not appropriate’ or ‘we have had a complaint and here’s what we will do about it’,” she told the RTS Cambridge Convention. “Perhaps that has not happened enough because [the behavior has] not come out enough.”
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McCall, however, said “anyone in government or anywhere else that could even think or imagine that we don’t take this incredibly seriously and we will not act on it is not right.”
Brand was accused by four women of allegations ranging from rape to sexual assault. He completely denies criminal wrongdoing and says all relationships were consensual.
The problem is heightened within the TV industry by the large freelance workforce, added McCall.
“When you make programs you have people coming and going in a crew and we’re looking at a freelance workforce of 70%,” she added. “So there are many complications and complexities and we are all looking at it, working on it, trying to avoid this happening in the future.”
She wasn’t asked about Phillip Schofield, who resigned in disgrace earlier this year after admitting to having a relationship with a much younger runner on This Morning. An external investigator is currently looking into Schofield’s time at This Morning.
McCall hits out at UK government
With the cost-of-living crisis and ad recession hitting commercial broadcasters hard, McCall slammed the UK government for lacking a plan and “talking about growth all the time but being very very quiet.”
“What are the initiatives for growing the economy?,” she questioned. “One thing the UK government could do for the creative industries is start growing the economy. It feels like there is a waiting game because everyone knows there is an election coming. For us that is frustrating because we are doing worse than every single European country economically other than Germany.”
She was equally critical of the opposition Labour Party, saying she “can’t distinguish between the policies” of Labour and the incumbent Conservatives.
Elsewhere, McCall wouldn’t much be drawn on ITV’s flip-flopping over its prospective All3Media bid beyond saying “we’re no longer exploring, we’re actively monitoring” the Traitors production group.
ITV had initially shown interest before withdrawing the interest. But Deadline revealed the deal was still not dead at the end of August, and All3 owner Liberty Global boss Mike Fries confirmed yesterday ITV is back in.
McCall was delivering a keynote on the second day of the RTS Cambridge Convention, which has featured talks from broadcasting heavyweights including Tim Davie, Alex Mahon and Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer.
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