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30 Apr, 2021 09:43

Actor Noel Clarke stripped of Bafta honors, membership after 20 women accuse him of sexual predation & bullying

Actor Noel Clarke stripped of Bafta honors, membership after 20 women accuse him of sexual predation & bullying

Acclaimed British actor and filmmaker Noel Clarke has been accused by multiple women of being a serial sexual predator, who has been abusing his professional position of power to harass subordinates. He denied the allegations.

Clarke is a prolific actor, producer, screenwriter and director best known for productions like ‘The Hood Trilogy’ and ‘Bulletproof’ TV series. On April 10, he received the prize for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta), his latest professional award.

A damning expose published by the Guardian on Thursday paints him as an abusive sexual predator, who for years has been using his industry position to sexually harass female co-workers. The newspaper interviewed 20 women, many of whom went on record under their real names, who described incidents of misconduct by Clarke that allegedly happened between 2004 and 2019.

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He was accused of secretly filming a nude audition with actress Jahannah James and showing the footage to other people, including producer Gina Powell, who worked for Clarke between 2014 and 2017, producing ‘Brotherhood’. 

Norwegian film producer Synne Seltveit said Clarke smacked her buttocks and sent her a photo of an erect penis through Snapchat.

Anna Avramenko, who worked as an intern during the filming of ‘Doghouse’, said Clarke tried to kiss her several times on set. 

Actress Jing Lusi, who worked with Clarke on the film ‘SAS: Red Notice’, said he told her he wanted to go have sex with her, and after she refused he threatened her with reprecautions unless she kept the episode to herself.

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Helen Atherton, an art director on ‘Brotherhood’, said Clarke broke industry norms for filming nude and sex scenes. At times he pressured actresses into taking part in what was “porn basically”.

Philippa Crabb, who worked as a runner on ‘Brotherhood’, said Clarke bombarded her with inappropriate comments. The experience was so bad that she quit the film industry and moved to Switzerland, the report said.

Similar detailed allegations of inappropriate conversations, unwanted physical contact, humiliation and emotional abuse came from other women who remained anonymous.

Clarke denied the allegations, saying 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.”

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The only incident that he acknowledged happening was described by Ieva Sabaliauskaite, a production assistant on ‘Brotherhood’. At a party, she demonstrated her skills as a former gymnast, including doing the splits, and Clarke took a picture of her that showed her underwear. She said she was humiliated when she saw her boss showing the image to colleagues and lunged for the phone, which caused it to drop, breaking the screen. She was further humiliated when she was ordered to take it to a repair shop.

Clarke’s lawyers said the photo only showed what Sabaliauskaite did publicly on a dancefloor and that taking the phone to be fixed was part of her job. They said Clarke was simply joking when he showed the image to others.

Bafta was aware of the allegations before awarding its prize to Clarke, the Guardian reported, but said it could not investigate the credibility of an anonymous email it had received regarding the filmmaker. The organization took a different stance after the expose was published. The report “provided for the first time detailed accounts outlining serious allegations regarding Noel Clarke’s conduct,” so Bafta has “immediately suspended the award and Noel Clarke’s membership of Bafta until further notice,” it said.

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The newspaper alleged that Clarke and his business partner, Jason Maza, had been contacting people about its ongoing investigation. Clarke reportedly called James, the actress whose nude audition he allegedly secretly filmed, to ask her if she was talking to the press.

“I would just ask you if the good times meant anything. Do not speak to this woman [the Guardian journalist] … Do not entertain it. Just f***ing – just please do not, that’s all,” he was quoted as saying.

“If there’s someone that was like a consensual that’s changed their mind five years later, well, firstly, that’s fucking ridiculous. Secondly, they still have to prove it. And I’m not trying to be that guy that’s like: hahaha I’m guilty, prove it. I’m not trying to be that guy. But they still have to prove it,” he reportedly added.

Maza allegedly called a different woman after Clarke received the Bafta award to tell her that the story had been buried. “Obviously, this article hasn’t broken in the Guardian and it won’t run in the Guardian now,” he allegedly said. “As far as we’re concerned, the thing has now gone away as much as Noel can do in his power.”

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