In the spirit of Time's Up, domestic violence protesters crashed the BAFTAs red carpet last night.
Members of the feminist direct action group Sisters Uncut wore t-shirts that read “Time's Up Theresa” while linking arms and chanting “sisters united will never be defeated”, eventually lying on the floor in full view of the press. They remained there for several minutes before being led away by police. No arrests were made.
Protestors were also heard chanting: “the DV Bill’s a cover up, Theresa May your time is up”. They later released a statement that clarified they were there to protest the Prime Minister’s upcoming Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill.
They believe the move threatens to “criminalise survivors while distracting from devastating funding cuts to domestic violence services nationwide”, the government has withdrawn major support for safe short-term housing for victims.
“We are in solidarity with the Time’s Up campaign. We recognise that gender-based violence happens everywhere and that to disclose abuse requires support,” said protester Ana Kaur in a press release. “As well as calling Time’s Up on individual perpetrators, we have to call Time’s Up on our government for failing to provide us with real options and support.”
Suzanne Da Costa, a domestic violence helpline worker who took part in the protest, said: “Imagine calling the police for help and ending up in a police cell – it’s incredibly traumatic and a story I’ve heard too often from survivors. We shouldn’t be giving the police more power, we should be giving power back to survivors”.
This awards season has played host to a number of protests and political statements. Unfortunately, Sisters Uncut couldn’t collude with figures from Time’s Up as a spokesperson told Dazed that: “given the nature of our action, it would have been impossible to directly involve anyone from the Time’s Up campaign without implicating them in our intention to jump the barriers.”
However, actresses at the show followed suit from the Golden Globes, opting for black outfits on the red carpet. Before the awards, 190 British and Irish actors signed an open letter published in The Observer that calls for an end to the tolerance of sexual harassment, violence, abuse, and discrimination both inside and outside the entertainment industry.