TV

Bridgerton Behinds-the-Scenes Bullying Drama That Led to Designer Fired

Image credit: Netflix

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story is an exciting new Bridgerton spin-off and prequel consisting of eight episodes. It will focus on Queen Charlotte and her rise to power and prominence.

Written by Shonda Rhimes for Netflix, the show will feature a young Queen Charlotte (India Amarteifio) as well as a young Lady Danbury (Arsema Thomas) and Lord Danbury (Cyril Nri).

In May 2021, the show was first announced but by April 2022, its production designer left the team after bullying allegations.

Dave Arrowsmith, the production designer in question, was reportedly fired for alleged bullying and abusive behavior on set. Netflix confirmed his departure but didn't speculate on the reasons why or whether or not he chose to leave or was forced out.

"There have been several issues on set, and a few crew members expressed concerns about a number of different incidents," an anonymous source told British tabloid The Sun.

Who is Dave Arrowsmith?

Arrowsmith is a production designer that has worked in Europe and the UK for more than 20 years. He has been nominated for RTS and BAFTA awards and is a member of the British Film Designers Guild whose base is in Pinewood Studios.

Dave Arrowsmith has worked on Cold Feet, Whiskey Cavalier, Outlander, The Kissing Booth, and Screw.

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The alleged bullying came from a report of several different issues from a variety of Bridgerton crew members. There have even been reports of a workers' hotline being set up for issues to be reported to those higher up.

Allegations and bullying are taken seriously in entertainment

Bullying and poor behavior are being discussed more and more in the entertainment industry. After Will Smith recently slapped Chris Rock, there have been an increasing number of discussions around appropriate behavior.

In the UK, BECTU (the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union) set up initiatives on anti-bullying in 2021.

Their anti-bullying charter, which was released last winter, listed a number of different points, including sets having safeguarding officers and effective complaints procedures in order to effectively deal with allegations of harassment and bullying.

BECTU's charter

BECTU reportedly produced their charter after the #UnseenOnScreen campaign following Noel Clarke's case. In April 2021, it was revealed that twenty women had accused the director and actor of bullying and sexual harassment. As a result of so many women speaking up but the police not investigating, BECTU made the decision to take a stand on poor on-set behavior.

The Union now calls for productions to have intimacy coordinators, on-set Safeguarding Officers, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusivity training, established complaints procedures, and an external body for reporting.

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