Save Tyneside Cinema & stop the board covering up sexual assault and bullying

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This petition calls for Tyneside Cinema, the organisation at the centre of multiple allegations of sexual harassment and workplace bullying to:

1. Allow independent oversight of any inquiry into these allegations

2. Stop redundancy consultations until this inquiry is over (edit: as of 31 July, Tyneside Cinema have proceeded with the redundancies, making one of the perpetrators and one of the victims redundant.)

3. Suspend the CEO and the Chair of the Board pending the results of this inquiry

Read the full story here...

On Friday 26 June 2020, one woman shared her experience of being raped by a colleague. At the time, she worked at Tyneside Cinema. A much loved independent cinema in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Her story, shared publicly on Twitter, because her experiences of Tyneside Cinema repeatedly mishandling this allegation, ignoring her, interviewing her about her rape in a cafe surrounded by customers, and not prioritising her safety by insisting she work with her abuser, had gone on for years.

Very quickly, multiple people then shared their experiences of sexual assault and harassment at Tyneside Cinema. Multiple people also shared their experiences of bullying, discrimination, racism, gaslighting, homophobia and toxic workplace cultures at Tyneside Cinema.

In response, hundreds of former and current employees of the cinema counter-signed an open letter stating they felt the cinema was an unsafe working environment and declaring their support for survivors of abuse, bullying and assault.

Now, the Board of Trustees, chaired by Lucy Armstrong has stated the cinema will hold an independent inquiry.

Except, the board have chosen who will conduct it, they are managing the process and they have no independent oversight from either of their main funders: the British Film Institute or Arts Council England.

Please sign this petition if you want to help make sure Tyneside Cinema has a long and positive future in the North East.

Please sign this petition to demand changes are made to help Tyneside Cinema become an organisation safe for its staff.

1.      We must stop the Board conducting their own inquiry without oversight from impartial and independent stakeholders
 
The Board are acting against the will of staff and stakeholders; by enforcing their own agenda over an inquiry which desperately needs to be independent. The Board have appointed and are funding their own investigator to conduct an inquiry into multiple allegations of negligence, mishandling of grievances, sexual assault, rape, discrimination, workplace bullying and corporate gaslighting.
 
Please sign this petition to call for independent oversight immediately.

The enquiry simply cannot be “independent” if it is not conducted and managed independently. The future of the Tyneside Cinema, its staff and our community rests on this inquiry being conducted with the utmost integrity.
 
If this inquiry goes ahead under the board supervision, it directly acts against the interests of the charity and its aims. Tyneside Cinema is a beloved, iconic and long-standing public institution – this does not and should not mean it is beyond reproach. In order to protect the cinema, the Board must be transparent.

Please sign this petition to call for the suspension of the Chief Executive Officer and the Chair of the Board so this inquiry can be carried out without interference.

 
2.     We must stop the redundancy consultations currently in progress at Tyneside Cinema until an independent inquiry is complete
 
Tyneside Cinema is consulting with its staff right now about yet another redundancy process. In four years the cinema has spent £62,374 on "staff restructuring" costs. The organisation is regularly inflicting this traumatic and unsettling event on its teams, supported by, what we now know to be;
 
-        wholly inadequate HR processes and procedures,
-        limited if not zero HR and wellbeing support for the staff,
-        untrained, unsupported management across the organisation.
 
Many of the revelations about Tyneside Cinema have centred on the mishandling of staff grievances, lack of impartiality and a ‘bystander’ culture. How can it, therefore, be remotely right, moral or effective to allow this organisation to conduct another redundancy process and inflict even more harm on its employees?
 
Please sign this petition to stop all major HR projects, including this redundancy consultation, until the cinema has been investigated thoroughly for previously admitted negligence.

We love the Tyneside Cinema, we value its place in Newcastle, we want it to be the very best it can be.

But it can't be this version of Tyneside Cinema.

It can't be a version where human beings are subjected daily to bullying.

It can't be a version where certain individuals wield so much power that even multiple allegations of sexual assault don't move the needle.

Please sign and help us secure a better, more inclusive and safer Tyneside Cinema.