Study Finds 80 Percent of Arts and Cultural Professionals Hide Their Conservative Beliefs Due to Fear of Backlash

Some 80% of arts and cultural workers say they mute their support for conservative or politically incorrect ideas due to fear of backlash from the public, colleagues or people who fund their work, according to a new study.

The new data was reflected in the results of ArtsProfessional’s recently published Freedom of Expression survey in the U.K.

In the survey, more than 500 artists and arts workers responded to questions about their experiences navigating controversy and coercion and their responses revealed a culture of self-censorship in which they were pressured into silence out of fear of harassment and humiliation as well as through the use of nondisclosure agreements.

Even though 90% of respondents agreed that “the arts and cultural sector has a responsibility to use its unique talents to speak out about things that matter, regardless of the potential consequences,” more than 80% thought “workers in the arts and cultural sector who share controversial opinions risk being professionally ostracized,” according to the survey.

ArtsProfessional editor Amanda Parker told ArtsProfessional magazine that the results of the survey show “a deep division between public perception and the reality of working in the arts and cultural sector.”

“Our survey shines a damning light on the coercion, bullying, intimidation and intolerance that is active among a community that thinks of itself as liberal, open minded and equitable,” she said.

“We are very aware that this research doesn’t reflect all views, but it’s a sad and timely indication of the suppressed hurt and anger felt by many, despite the loud and growing conversations about collaboration and inclusiveness,” she explained.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair