Tuesday 10.45pm – 11.45pm, BBC1
The previous year has seen a large number of famous men being accused, and convicted of sexual harassment, their downfall documented in full view of the world. Never has the media across the globe seen such attention paid to the issue, yet the debate about what is or isn’t sexual harassment in the workplace continues in earnest. Simple actions such as complimenting someone’s perfume or saying they look nice can lead to querying whether a line has been crossed, even though someone may have genuinely thought they were only being friendly. The defining boundaries for sexual harassment do not appear to be as clear cut as some may think.
Digging further into the issue, BBC Three have decided to conduct a social experiment, bringing together 20 people between the ages of 18-30 to see if they understand the behaviours and rules expected in the workplace. The experiment takes place over the course of two days and is presented by journalist and presenter Ben Zand, winner of the Royal Television Society’s 2016 Young Talent of the Year and producer of other excellent documentaries such as R Kelly: Sex, Girls and Videotapes and Trump: A Very British Welcome?.
The participants watch a specially written drama, broken into three parts which tells the story of a professional relationship between a man and a woman in the workplace which ends in an accusation of sexual harassment. The group are invited to vote at each stage on the behaviour witnesses and whether it is unwanted or offensive, before a final vote at the end of the drama to determine if they believe it constitutes sexual harassment. The group also hear from a variety of people of have been affected by sexual harassment in one way or another, including victims and one person who was falsely accused of harassment.
The debate between the group is impassioned, wide ranging and reveals that young people have much confusion and disagreement in where they believe the line should be drawn on sexual harassment, it is also clear to see that this line can become blurred – the difference between genders in their perspectives on what is acceptable with regards to sexual harassment is significant.
The final part of the documentary introduces a barrister who lays down the law and explains the legal position of the issues in the drama the group watch – answering the question to the documentary “Is this sexual harassment?”.
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