While delivering the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh TV Festival on Wednesday, Michaela Coel begin to describe an incident that happened to her while she was working late in the London Offices of the company that produces Chewing Gum, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“I had an episode due at 7 a.m. I took a break and had a drink with a good friend who was nearby. I emerged into consciousness typing season two, many hours later. I was lucky. I had a flashback. It turned out I’d been sexually assaulted by strangers.
After the incident, Coel said the producers
teetered 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 said that the production company paid for her to go to Therapy at a private clinic. She requested that the deadline for the show be extended, and everyone working on the show be made aware for the reason behind the extension- she then found out that even the head of British Channel 4’s comedy wasn’t told about the incident.
“Like any other experience I’ve found traumatic, it’s been therapeutic to write about it, and actively twist a narrative of pain into one of hope, and even humor, and be able to share it with you, as part of a fictional drama on television, because I think transparency helps.”
On the same day it was announced, Coel made the admission that she will write and star in “Jan 22nd”, a BBC drama. The Drama is described as a “fearless, frank and provocative” exploration into the issues of Sexual Consent, and will look into “the distinction between liberation and exploitation.”