Black Mirror Star Michaela Coel Speaks Out About Sexual Assault
"When there are police involved... when cuts are found, when there’s blood… what is your job?"
Writer and actor Michaela Coel is set to write and star in a new drama for the BBC which will explore sexual consent.
Coel, who starred in Black Mirror and the upcoming Black Earth Rising also created and starred in the comedy Chewing Gum for E4.
During a lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, Coel revealed that she was sexually assaulted during the writing of the series. She told the crowd she had an episode due at 7am, but took a break to have a drink with friends.
"I emerged into consciousness typing season two, many hours later," she said, "I was lucky. I had a flashback. It turned out I’d been sexually assaulted by strangers. The first people I called after the police, before my own family, were the producers."
After alerting the producers and authorities, Coel described seeing the crew "morph into an anxious team of employers and employees alike; teetering back and forth between the line of knowing what normal human empathy is and not knowing what empathy is at all."
When there are police involved, and footage, of people carrying your sleeping writer into dangerous places, when cuts are found, when there’s blood… what is your job?
Coel's BBC series, Jan 22nd will centre on a character named Arabella -- played by Coel -- and her personal experience of consent.
The 30-year-old also spoke about experiences of racism in the industry saying, "I’ve never accused anyone at work of racism but I’ve been urged to understand someone ‘isn’t racist’ on every job I’ve acted in since, just by pointing out possible patterns, tendencies".
"When I agree they aren’t racist, but suggest they may be thoughtless on the matter, it doesn’t go down very well," she said. "But if you’re not racist, or thoughtless about race, what other thing can you be?"
Coel's speech was called a "wake-up call" for the industry as she told the crowd "Instead of standing here, wishing for the good ol’ glory days, about the way life used to be before Mark Zuckerberg graduated, I’m going to try to be my best".
"To be transparent; and to play whatever part I can, to help fix this house. What part will you play?"
Featured image: Getty.