Late Thursday the UK’s Guardian newspaper ran a lengthy piece detailing numerous and serious allegations made against British actor/director/producer Noel Clarke – including that he allegedly used intimidation in projects he controlled, had threatened careers, inappropriately touched women he worked with and that he had shared explicit, inappropriate imagery without consent. Without commenting on the veracity of the accusations it should be noted that far from many a tabloid’s insinuation-led gossip pieces, the Guardian’s piece appeared to be considerably well researched with citations, quotes and context, stating clearly that many of the numerous events and accusations in question were still being disputed. It is also clear that Noel Clarke and his management have continually denied all but one of the accusations.
“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,” Clarke responded through his management.
He later added: “I vehemently deny any sexual misconduct or criminal wrongdoing. Recent reports however have made it clear to me that some of my actions have affected people in ways I did not intend or realise. To those individuals, I am deeply sorry. I will be seeking professional help to educate myself and change for the better.”
However the various complaints of his behaviour (over several years) brought to light this week aren’t the only controversy about the situation. There’s been additional concern and comment when it was noted that BAFTA had been approached with accusations about Clarke in the days before they formally presented him with the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema award, which he accepted as part of their live ceremony this month. BAFTA has now confirmed that they were contacted in advance but made a later statement that they continued with their award plans as none of the details they were given were specific or were willing to be given on the record at the time. BAFTA said they encouraged the complainants to go through legal channels if they felt that was needed, offered their services for advice and have now made the decision to temporarily retract Clarke’s membership once the Guardian ran their more detailed account.
Ashley Walters, Clarke’s long-time friend and co-star in the UK-based action series Bulletproof issued a statement that reads:
“My thoughts are with the women who have come forward and told their awful stories. I’m in shock and deeply saddened by what I have heard on a multitude of levels. I could never condone behaviour of this nature neither in nor out of the workplace, and whilst Noel has been a friend and colleague for several years, I cannot stand by and ignore these allegations. Sexual harassment, abuse and bullying have no place in our industry. Every woman has the right to a safe workplace and moving forward I pledge my dedication to this.”
Given the number of complaints involved, Sky, who were working with Clark and Walters on preparations for a fourth run of Bulletproof, have stopped those production plans, saying “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.” At this point it is believed that none of the existing complaints relate to production on Bulletproof itself.
ITV, who were broadcasting the police thriller Viewpoint, (in which played DC Martin King) were due to show its finale yesterday, but has pulled it from the schedules with followers only recourse to see it when it is streamed online (which will be for this weekend only). In the US, The CW has pulled their own broadcast of Bulletproof.
Clarke came to fame playing the role of Mickey in the first two seasons of the revived Doctor Who series and began to receive plaudits for his helming of Kidulthood (2006), Adulthood (2008) and Brotherhood (2016), detailing the trials and tribulations of a group of inner-city young men finding their way out adolescent troubles. He’s also featured in the likes of Star Trek: Into Darkness, I am Soldier and most recently in another Sky project, SAS: Red Notice. In 2019 he went public over his concerns that he was the only main-cast member not to appear on the poster for film Fisherman’s Friends – most of the other faces, all white, were featured.
On Saturday 1st May, the Metropolitan Police confirmed in a statement that they had received a third-party statement involving the allegations against Clarke prior to the Guardian article’s publication. As it is a third-party they cannot formally open an investigation based solely upon that complaint, but they could use it later as part of a wider investigation involving any other incidents.