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Bafta suspends Noel Clarke over claims

Noel Clarke in Viewpoint

UK film and TV body Bafta has suspended British actor and filmmaker Noel Clarke and stripped him of the achievement award it gave him earlier this month after allegations of sexual harassment.

Bafta’s decision comes after an investigation by the Guardian revealed a catalogue of verbal abuse, bullying and sexual harassment complaints against Clarke.

The investigation found Bafta had been informed of the allegations ahead of its latest awards ceremony in early April, but that it had still awarded Clarke with the gong for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema because it had not seen evidence to back up the claims.

According to a report published by the Guardian yesterday, 20 women have since spoken out against the actor following his Bafta win, variously accusing him of sexual harassment, unwanted touching or groping, sexually inappropriate behaviour and comments on set, professional misconduct, taking and sharing sexually explicit pictures and videos without consent, and bullying between 2004 and 2019.

Following this latest development, Bafta has now taken action to suspend Clarke. It said in a statement: “In light of the allegations of serious misconduct regarding Noel Clarke in the Guardian, Bafta has taken the decision to suspend his membership and the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema award immediately and until further notice.”

Clarke rose to prominence after landing a role in BBC cult sci-fi series Doctor Who in 2005, before breaking into film with the Hood trilogy (Kidulthood, Adulthood, Brotherhood), which he starred in, wrote and directed.

The Guardian report includes allegations that Clarke covertly filmed naked auditions of Brotherhood actor Jahannah James for the film Legacy, and later boasted about the footage and showed it to others.

He currently stars in Sky police procedural Bulletproof, which he-co-created and produces through his London-based, All3Media-backed Unstoppable Film and Television outfit, and ITV police drama Viewpoint – a five-part miniseries which is due to conclude tonight.

Sky confirmed this morning that it had suspended its work with Clarke on the fourth season of Bulletproof. A spokesman said: “Sky stands against all forms of sexual harassment and bullying and takes any allegations of this nature extremely seriously. Effective immediately, we have halted Noel Clarke’s involvement in any future Sky productions.”

All3Media said in a statement: “We have a zero-tolerance approach to abuse, bullying and harassment. We take allegations of this kind extremely seriously and are looking into this as a matter of urgency.”

ITV continued with the broadcast of the fourth episode of Viewpoint last night, after news of the allegations had emerged, and has not commented on whether tonight’s finale will air.

Clarke has strongly denied every allegation made against him, bar one, according to the Guardian, admitting that he once made inappropriate comments about one woman.

He said in a statement: “In a 20-year career, I have put inclusivity and diversity at the forefront of my work and never had a complaint made against me. If anyone who has worked with me has ever felt uncomfortable or disrespected, I sincerely apologise. I vehemently deny any sexual misconduct or wrongdoing and intend to defend myself against these false allegations.”

UPDATE: An ITV representative said: “ITV has a zero tolerance policy to bullying, harassment and victimisation and robust procedures in place to investigate and deal with any complaints. We strongly believe that everyone deserves to work in a supportive and safe environment.

“In light of the very serious nature of the allegations against Noel Clarke raised by 20 women in the Guardian’s report, ITV has decided it is no longer appropriate to broadcast the final episode of the drama Viewpoint on ITV main channel this evening.

“We are mindful that some of our viewers have already invested four hours of their time over the past four nights in following this thriller which was due to conclude this evening, and they have yet to see the final episode. As such, we plan to make it available on ITV Hub tonight for a limited time for any viewers who wish to seek it out and watch its conclusion.”

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