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Kate Beckinsale calls on Bafta to change policy after ‘cold email’ about late stepfather left her ‘sickened’

Actor has called on awards organisation to make ‘major change’

Ellie Muir
Saturday 20 January 2024 15:35 GMT
Related: Kate Beckinsale ‘Love and Friendship’ interview

Actor Kate Beckinsale has called on the British Academy Film Awards (Bafta) to offer public assurance that they will make a “major change” to their emailing policy.

Beckinsale decided to speak out after she was left “sickened” by an email she received from the organisation that initially said it could not guarantee a tribute to her late stepfather.

Her stepfather was director Roy Battersby, who died earlier this month at the age of 87, who was best known for his work on detective dramas including A Touch Of Frost, Inspector Morse and Cracker.

After his death, Beckinsale, 50, said she approached the Bafta organisers to ask that Battersby, who won the Alan Clarke Award for outstanding contribution to television at the 1996 ceremony, could be included in the In Memoriam segment at this year’s event.

Beckinsale then shared Bafta’s response email to her Instagram, in which she is told that they “are never able to make any guarantees of inclusion”, and that all names in consideration for the Awards In Memoriam segment are brought before the Obituaries Committee.

Beckinsale hit back at organisers, saying that the email was “coldly worded”.

She said: “So a man dead less than a week somehow has to audition in front of a committee after a decades-long career in which he has been awarded from said organisation … to decide if his death is worth mentioning.

“If his work, his life, his craft, his mentoring, his heart and soul are worthy of a mention that he is gone.”

Paying tribute to her late stepfather’s work on Leeds United!, she added: “That has broken my heart all over again. I am paralysed, sick and sickened and I will honour him and his work every day of my life.”

Kate Beckinsale called out Bafta for ‘cold’ email and asked for public assurance they would change their emailing policy when contacting bereaved families (Getty Images for Chopard)

In the wake of Beckinsale’s public complaints and subsequent backlash, Bafta has now reportedly guaranteed a tribute to Battersby at the television awards ceremony in May.

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In response, a Bafta spokesman called Battersby “a renowned and trailblazing director”, and said the organisation was “sorry to hear” of his death earlier this month.

The statement added: “We confirm he will be honoured in our forthcoming Bafta television awards in May, and on the In Memoriam section on our website.”

However, in a new Instagram post shared on Saturday morning (20 January), Beckinsale called on the organisation to make a “major change” to their emailing policy to bereaved families.

“I have received far too many DMs from family members of people in the British film industry who have passed away who received similarly cold emails and were equally distressed by them.”

The Independent has contacted Bafta for comment.

Beckinsale asked for “public and permanent assurance” from Bafta that they would make a “major change to their policy of wording emails to anyone who has been bereaved”.

She added that while she had been made aware that Bafta said they would include Battersby’s name in their memorial segment, she had not heard directly from them.

“They have not apologised to me publicly or personally and just asked that my publicist relay an apology,” she wrote.

She concluded: “If Bafta truly is an organisation that celebrates those who work in this industry, I want an assurance that this is the last time they send the family of ANY of its workers an email with such a dismissive and cold tone, whether ultimately the person in question is able to be included in the segment or not.”

The Baftas In Memory Of was created in 2006 to honour the “committed and passionate individuals who worked in the film, games and TV industries who have passed away”, according to its website.

As a disclaimer, however, it says that the awards body is not able to “provide a definitive list of every person with industry credits who has passed away” each year, because of the high number of deaths annually.

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