An anti-racism entrepreneur faces having her company liquidated after being taken to court by the British Film Institute (BFI) over an alleged debt of more than £200,000.
Alisha Hall is disputing a winding-up petition launched by the BFI and joined by The British Blacklist (TBB), a media platform for Black creatives.
The claim relates to agreements between the parties at the time of the glitzy London Film Festival in October 2021.
The entrepreneur, who wants to promote diversity and ‘rebalance’ society, was involved in a series of high-profile events at the festival, which was attended by Beyoncé and Jay Z.
The BFI launched the high court action over a sponsorship fee for the festival that it claims it is owed by the company director, who runs Hall Media Group and The Liberation Initiatives.
According to court documents seen by Metro.co.uk, the amount sought when the case was launched in August 2022 was £216,000 which the BFI alleges was not paid by the media group.
TBB claims it is owed money by the media firm director over a brunch to celebrate UK-based Black film and TV creatives during the festival.
The creative platform alleges that she did not supply the promised funds, so it had to foot the £35,000 bill upfront and was not reimbursed.
Hall disputes both sets of allegations, with a spokesperson for her company saying it is ‘extremely proud of the work we do for our marginalised communities in the UK’ and the BFI’s case is ‘without merit’.
The BFI is pursuing the winding-up petition in the Companies Court, the documents show. The case is understood to revolve around The Liberation Initiatives having been an official event partner along with major names including Netflix and Warner Bros.
The company’s involvement was to support a ‘number of key programmes’ and ‘make the festival more inclusive to underrepresented communities’, according to the BFI at the time.
The 12-day showcase was given some star power as Beyoncé and Jay Z made a surprise appearance on the red carpet for the premiere of Idris Elba and Regina King’s movie The Harder They Fall.
In a statement, the BFI said: ‘Proceedings against Hall Media Group Limited in respect of sums owed to the BFI are ongoing and it would be inappropriate to comment whilst those proceedings remain live.’
Hall, 41, founded the Liberation Initiatives in July 2020 as the Black Lives Matters movement swept the US and the UK after the death of George Floyd at the hands of four police officers.
She told the SheerLuxe lifestyle website at the time that ‘In light of this year’s Black Lives Matter movement, finally the world is listening to us’.
The Liberation Initiatives says on its website that it is ‘making activism approachable and accessible’ and its mission is to ‘re-balance the state of diversity, equality and inclusion in today’s society’.
The business is registered as dormant at Companies House.
A spokesperson for Hall Media Group said: ‘We are extremely proud of the work we do for marginalised communities in the UK, and the support we have provided over the years to a variety of community groups, Black entrepreneurs, and creatives.
‘In light of the legal process underway, it would be inappropriate to comment further other than to say we do not believe the BFI’s complaint has merit and we look forward to making our case in court.’
In winding-up petitions, an official receiver is put in charge of the liquidation if the application is successful.
The company’s assets are then turned into funds to reimburse creditors.
The case is due to resume later this year.
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