This is a public statement in response to Samar Ziadat’s Twitter thread from 6 June 2020.
Update, 18 June 2020:
We have reached out to Samar privately to apologise and offer compensation for her work. We appreciate that she has come forward to hold us accountable and engage in a conversation.
Following Samar’s suggestion, we have made donations to the Exist Loudly Fund, the Black Lives Matter UK fund and Black Minds Matter UK.
We are pausing Femspectives’ public activity in order to reflect on the actions we can take as individuals and as an organisation.
We are working on an action plan to commit to our intentions to address systemic racism in our organisation as well as in the wider screen sector in which Femspectives is embedded. We will share updates on our progress.
We recognise that this is an ongoing, long-term process and change is not going to happen overnight, but we are committed to doing this work.
6 June 2020
We apologise to Samar Ziadat for our actions. We apologise for taking the volunteer call Samar penned for SQIFF and using it on our website without her permission or compensating her for her work. We apologise for not taking responsibility for our actions in our email response to her in March 2019. Our actions were wrong as was our lack of response and acknowledgement at the time.
We have reached out to Samar privately to send her a personal apology.
We acknowledge that we failed in our attempt to find a solution. We are now trying to find a way to rectify this.
We are committed to examining our privilege as a white-led organisation and the manner in which we work and engage with Black and non-Black POC collaborators, artists, audiences and filmmakers. Words are not enough and we are committed to taking action.
As a white-led organisation we are complicit in the culture of exploitation of Black and non-Black people of colour in the cultural sector. Examining our role in this system is a constant process and we commit to spending more time looking at our position and practice and how we can be better.
Femspectives was developed to provide a safe space and we are sorry that this has not been met. We know that change can only come about when mistakes and missteps are called out and we step up to the responsibility. We endeavour to get it right but we hope you continue to call us out when we get it wrong.
Lauren & Kathi
Co-producers of Femspectives