A series of tweets from a prominent black film executive revealed that the film charity mis-took the identity of a Black British film producer in an obituary which they plagiarised.
Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe MBE, the founder of the British Urban Film Festival has condemned BAFTA for declaring their solidarity for the black community after he produced contradictory evidence relating to the publication of his obituary of Victor Adebodun – an award-winning Black British film and television producer (The Intent, Venus vs Mars) who died in April 2018 aged 33. The film charity’s official Twitter page shared a post yesterday in response to the growing number of protests following the death of George Floyd.
“We stand in solidarity with the black community, our members, colleagues and the industry to oppose racism and to fight for greater justice and equality in society,” said BAFTA’s message which also noted that George Floyd’s death “must be a catalyst for real change”.
Mr Anyiam-Osigwe – who was awarded an MBE this year for services to the Black and minority ethnic film industry – released a statement on social media late last night, accusing BAFTA of “jumping on the bandwagon of black people and black organisations for decades”. He goes on to accuse BAFTA of consistently showing “their disrespect and disregard for the black community. By posting their tasteless tweet about George Floyd – today was not the day to declare their “solidarity with the black community”.
In a direct response to BAFTA’s post on Twitter, Mr Anyiam-Osigwe – who is of British-Nigerian origin – published a screengrab of a page from BAFTA’s obituary section (since updated) which wrongly identified Victor Adebodun – also of British-Nigerian origin – as CEO of the British Urban Film Festival – an organisation which Mr Anyiam-Osigwe founded in 2005 as a platform to showcase diversity and inclusion on-screen and off screen. The screengrab also shows that BAFTA failed to credit Mr Anyiam-Osigwe for the information published (without his prior knowledge) on the BAFTA page, a section of which is lifted from the full version of the obituary (first published by The Voice newspaper) which readers are directed to click-through to.
Yesterday, Mr Anyiam-Osigwe tweeted:
“BAFTA have been jumping on the bandwagon of black people and black organisations for decades and have consistently shown their disrespect and disregard for the black community. By posting their tasteless tweet about George Floyd – today was not the day to declare their “solidarity with the black community”.
2 years ago, I discovered that BAFTA published an obituary for the late Victor Adebodun on their website – only it wasn’t their obituary – it was mine; the one that I wrote for The Voice newspaper.
Not only did they publish this without prior permission, I wasn’t personally credited, and furthermore they cited Victor in their blurb as the CEO of the British Urban Film Festival (See the evidence for yourself below).
Where was their tact? Where was due process followed? Where was their apology?
Black men do NOT all look the same!
BAFTA doesn’t speak for me – never has done in the past, never will do in the future.”
Concluding his statement, Mr Anyiam-Osigwe said that he felt “no shame in calling out BAFTA (today) for how they treated me personally and how they continue to treat black British people in the film industry”.
Earlier this year, BAFTA was warned of becoming irrelevant, redundant and of no interest or importance after criticism from Sir Steve McQueen for failing to recognise diverse British talent in many of the principal categories, including all the main acting awards.
In 2018, a report by business psychology firm Pearn Kandola revealed that 94% of all BAFTA film award nominees had been white.