Grierson Trust “Urgently Investigating” Reports Of Antisemitic Racism At UK Awards Ceremony

The Grierson Trust is “urgently investigating” reports of an antisemitic incident during last week’s documentary awards ceremony in London.

“We are appalled to have received several reports of anti-Jewish racism by an individual at the reception after the Grierson Awards last Thursday night,” said the Trust, which organizes the annual British Documentary Awards.

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“We are urgently investigating these reports to decide as soon as possible on a course of action.

“The Grierson Trust wants to make it clear to our Jewish colleagues in the media and the creative arts that we stand with them to condemn antisemitism and, of course to stamp it out in our industry and beyond. We are very concerned with the rise in divisive and hateful behaviours of all kinds. We are deeply committed to an inclusive, diverse industry and environment for everyone and we will not tolerate any form of racism.”

One individual is understood to have confronted up to three attendees after discovering they were Jewish. The first attendee approached had refused to discuss the Israel-Palestine situation, prompting the individual to seek out more Jewish attendees.

The awards were held last Thursday (November 9). During the glitzy event held at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on London’s Southbank, the BBC picked up the most gongs with six and Netflix won two. Channel 4, Disney+, Sky Documentaries/HBO Documentary Films and Apple TV+ won one each. Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland from KEO Films and Walk on Air Films won two awards for Best Documentary Series and Best History Documentary.

The Israel-Hamas conflict, which is now in its sixth week, continues to drive division in the film and film worlds. Earlier today, we reported on how U.S.-Israeli filmmaker Aleeza Chanowitz said an invitation to the Stockholm Film Festival to discuss her series Chanshi had been rescinded.

Though Chanowitz said the festival had later apologized and told her the issue was down to miscommunication. She said she does not “feel very welcome anymore” and no longer has plans to attend the event, where content from her series for Israeli broadcaster Hot is due to screen.

In the past hour, the Stockholm Film Festival has denied Chanowitz was disinvited and that the situation was a “significant misunderstanding.”

Elsewhere, The International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam found itself in the eye of the conflict’s storm in recent days, after a pro-Palestinian protest on the opening night drew criticism from Israeli professionals. Artistic Director Orwa Nyrabia then found himself receiving criticism from pro-Palestinian professionals for his response. The Palestine Film Institute led a demonstration today calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The conflict broke out on October 7, when Hamas-backed militants crossed the Gaza-Israel border and proceeded to kill around 1,200 people (a figure recently revised down by the Israeli government from an initial 1,400) and take men, women and children hostage. Israel responded by launching a massive airborne assault on Hamas, levelling huge swathes of Gaza in the process. Ground forces followed. The Hamas-led Gaza Health Ministry says more than 11,000 people, including many civilians, have been killed in the bombings.

Many are calling for a ceasefire to reduce civilian deaths, but Israel’s government claims Hamas is using people as human shields in the midst of fighting.

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