News: Live Comedy Association Responds To Issue Of Harassment, Abuse And Misconduct In The Comedy Industry.

News: Comedy Clubs To Take Part In Pilot for Indoor Shows

The recently-formed Live Comedy Association has issued a response following widespread accounts of sexual harassment, abuse and misconduct in the comedy industry.

The organisation has set out the following plan to tackle these issues.

"The LCA was established to make sure that the industry survives this pandemic, but also for it to thrive in the future. From the stories emerging over the weekend, along with the stories we all already know, it’s quite obvious that so many in the industry are currently unable to thrive because of a culture of abuse, misconduct, and harassment. Even as the initial Steering Group, we have a responsibility to help facilitate a long overdue cultural shift in our industry. We believe these issues exist in every corner of our industry from open-mic nights to professional comedy venues and festivals, and we are committed to addressing change at every level.

First and foremost, the LCA is not a space for harassers, abusers, or dangerous individuals - if that’s you, those aren’t the values of this organisation.

For the brave people that have spoken out this week, and even named their abusers publicly, we hear you and the LCA’s Steering Group takes the stance that victims should be believed.

The LCA does not have legal expertise and training, so we therefore urge you to seek legal advice before going public with any names. As the LCA has only formed recently and is staffed by volunteers, at this stage we also don’t yet have the structures, processes, training and resources to deal with any specific issues that are brought to us.

However, the Steering Group is treating the issue of systemic misconduct as a top priority. We are in the process of taking the following action: 

  • We have established a task force, made up of Steering Group members Hannah Martin, Jessica Toomey, Kitty Edgar, Saima Ferdows, Pax Lowey & Jenny Kassner. They will report to the wider Steering Group on a weekly basis and oversee the long term changes that will need to happen in order to tackle systemic abuse and misconduct in our industry.

  • Within the next week, we will create a resources page for those who have been the victim of sexual abuse, harassment, and misconduct, and wish to seek further advice and support. This will include emergency helplines, mental health, counselling and legal advice - we are looking into finding (if possible) pro bono/reduced rate legal advice from experts that members can be directed towards.

  • As a priority, we are researching and drafting a Code of Conduct for the LCA’s members.  We will present proposals to members for consultation and input as soon as possible. The Code of Conduct will not limit artistic freedom of expression but will aim to protect workplace safety. The consultation will also cover the LCA’s role, ability and resources in enforcing this Code of Conduct.

  • An extended Code of Conduct will be drawn up which all members of the Steering Group will be required to sign. The same will be required for those sitting on the long term board/other structure for the LCA from November onwards.

  • We will also provide resources and templates to help venues, promoters, production companies, and other organisations implement their own policies to protect workplace safety and prevent abuse, and encourage the adoption of them throughout the industry as we resume work. These venues & gigs are our workplaces, and they should be respected as such.

  • The task force will consider how systems such as an independent complaints procedure and venues/promoters having their own ‘Welfare Officers’ could work, what resources they would need, what the LCA’s role in these should be, and what involvement we may need from external, independent bodies.

  • The task force will look into broader aspects of the culture in live comedy that enables misconduct and illegal behaviour. This may include elements such as education programmes, awareness campaigns, and workplace training. 

This list is not exhaustive & the taskforce will be looking into further action that can be taken to make a real difference to our members and to our wider industry. We’d welcome the involvement of all those with skills & advice relating to these areas. We know people are making similar efforts across our industry and in others, and we hope to work alongside them. 

We hope this provides some clarity over what the LCA can currently do, where we have to direct our members to external resources, and what we are planning to do in the coming months.

The entire Steering Group believes this can be a real moment of much-needed change. Coronavirus has caused much damage and uncertainty around our industry, but we’re hopeful that this time can be used not only to rebuild it, but to work towards having an industry which is safe for all those who want to work in it.

If you have any further questions, thoughts or concerns, please get in touch on [email protected]"

Find out more about the LCA and join here.



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