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lockett_sarah@outlook.com

This open letter says it all.

I’ve been told that within hours of me posting this, £5k was sent to my agent (of the £51k he’s owed) to pay SOME of the UK extras. Just the £46k to go then. If they can find this much money instantly, why can’t they find the other £46k? I’ve been told that “the UK bank” has impounded £1m of the Indian production company’s money, as they weren’t able to sufficiently explain where it came from (under the “Know Your Customer” rules, or KYC, I presume).

As my husband says, “Don’t make your problems my problems.”

The production company, #YashiFilms, and their UK partner, #BlueBlingProductionHouse, presumably have other funds. I say to them: find a way to pay the hardworking extras, and sort the finances out later. Extras are, from my experience, often people at the bottom of the ladder (not always). Many are foreign nationals with little English; many are not suited for other jobs (white collar, professional jobs). Equally, many are also professional actors, graduates, highly educated people who are doing this for enjoyment, creativity, stimulation, social reasons – as well as employment. They’ve worked long hours, travelled possibly many miles (and are often out-of-pocket for their travel expenses) and the big film production houses need to pay them.

I bet the crew have been paid. I bet the cast have been paid. I bet the stars have been paid. I bet the ‘suits’ who often come on these overseas location shoots have been paid. I bet the hangers-on have been paid.

Call me ‘Comrade Lockett’, but the workers need to be paid, recompensed, compensated for their time and effort. I don’t want to be difficult, the awkward squad. I don’t want to have to shame this company, Yashi Films and their UK partner, #BlueBlingProductionHouse. But I have been nice for months: reminding, chasing, enquiring, “Oh, any sign of those payment yet/ Any word from the producers/ Any idea when those payments will come through?” And the answer has always been, “The payments are coming through today, next week, Sunday, Monday…” but the cash never turns up.

No one wants to drag this through the courts, to start a small claims case, but this is what’s going to happen. Save everyone some time? And do the right thing: pay up? As you should all have done 6 months ago.

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