Tyneside Cinema has been apart of Newcastle City Centre since 1937. Regularly heralded as a gem within the city and a key part of the community, over recent years it has become embroiled in controversy.
The most recent is now resulting in Chairwoman Lucy Armstrong and Chief Executive Holli Keeble being removed from their positions as a result of “distressing reports of sexual abuse & bullying”.
Kickstarted by employees sharing incidents on social media resulting in an independent investigation after their claims fell on deaf ears within the Cinema.
200 Past and Present Staff Speak Out
Such outlets such as the BBC have reported the most recent news bringing it to national attention, and is the result of a large campaign by victims and over 200 past and present as employees signed a letter urging management to take action over the serious allegations.
Emails released on Twitter from former Access Cinema Coordinator @MemphisMidnight show concerns were previously raised in December 2019, not only supporting a sexual assault allegation of another staff member, but also their own “attempted sexual assault” by the same alleged management member.
You Aren’t Vulnerable Are You?
Please see the below update from the Chief Executive and the Chair.
Further to this statement, we would like to clarify that Tyneside Cinema will not be reopening until the report and recommendations of the independent review have been published. pic.twitter.com/e52KZb03Zy
— Tyneside Cinema (@tynesidecinema) September 24, 2020
In the email above, a member of the Tyneside Cinema HR Manager is documented as having accused Memphis of taking part in a “witch-hunt” and insinuating she isn’t a “vulnerable” person.
Allegations raised against the company also included further sexual assaults from the member of the management team, the timeline reports a formal complaint was raised from another person, and she had to relive her ordeal in the bar – which was packed with customers eating and drinking”.
The charity is currently being taken to a tribunal as a result, claiming the cinema resulted in PTSD over their mishandling overwhelms of sexual assault by a staff member.
The Newcastle Chronicle reports Northumbria Police investigated the allegation and quizzed a 30-year-old man who has since been released with no further action taken.
Save Tyneside also reported that members of the Police advised that the ‘organization was negligent & urgently needed site wide training’
Save Tyneside Campaign
As a result of public pressure, and a campaign from the launch of Save Tyneside along with the video released by @serialmam along with BBC Look North TV coverage, the cinema eventually bowed to public pressure.
In July 2020 Tyneside Cinema launched an independent review, which also didn’t come without further controversy. Tyneside enlisted the help of Turning Moment in the summer of 2020 to conduct this.
Previous versions of the company Turning Moment, (a company dormant since 2013) show it to be a “one-man organization” specialising in workplace coaching. Not a company with a reputable background in HR inquiries.
Within hours of Turning Moment being announced as independent investigators, they had a website re-brand which has never been finished, however, their Facebook social media, appears to have missed the memo.
Their website now displays a landing page, declaring they are a company dealing with “Conflict Resolution Services”. Tyneside Cinema also faced further outcry as they released a ‘statement’ over Twitter about their independent review.
What do you make of this news?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.