The producers of a made-for-TV movie shot in B.C. are investigating after concerns were raised about a crew member’s attire: a Black Lives Matter T-shirt.
The lighting technician was working on the Vancouver set of the movie Gone Mom, wearing a black shirt with the words Black Lives Matter on the front and back. Concerns were communicated to the crew member about wearing clothing with a political message.
The incident occurred last Wednesday. At the end of the day, the crew member left the show and did not return.
“We take any sort of potential issue with anyone feeling uncomfortable on set incredibly seriously, and we would never want anybody to feel uncomfortable for any reason,” said executive producer Shawn Williamson, who vowed to take action if wrongdoing is found to have occurred.
Williamson said a producer misinterpreted a wardrobe policy created to ensure safety on the set. He stressed that no policy exists banning political messages. “We do not have any guidelines that dictate what crews should wear or not wear when it comes to any political or social movement or anything.”
The only guidelines that exist regarding what people wear, he said, have to do with workplace safety.
Williamson, emphasizing that he was not on set and did not witness the conversation, said it was his understanding that a producer did not ask that the person take off the shirt, but to be aware of what they were wearing.
“Nobody was removed from the set, nobody was reprimanded, nobody was asked to leave,” he said.
Other crew wore Black Lives Matter attire to the set on Thursday as a show of support. The film, which is being made for Lifetime by Burnaby, B.C.-based Slumber Productions, is scheduled to wrap production on Monday.
Williamson, who co-runs Lighthouse Pictures and chairs Brightlight Pictures, said an investigation was being conducted. “We certainly support an inclusive workplace on every front. And so, if any of this occurred and inappropriate things were done or said, we will absolutely take the appropriate action to fix that.”
When told about the incident, Nathalie Younglai – founder of the Canadian organization BIPOC TV & Film – said she felt terrible for the crew member and hopes the producer involved receives anti-oppression training. She said other people wearing BLM attire onset – white people included – would send a strong message to the crew member involved and Black crew members in general. “It’s important to actually show solidarity.”
Editor’s note: (March 1) An earlier version of this story incorrectly named the production company behind Gone Mom.