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Co-star ‘deeply saddened’ by Noel Clarke claims but ‘cannot stand by and ignore allegations’

  • April 30, 2021

Co-star Ashley Walters has said he is “deeply saddened” by allegations against Noel Clarke but has said he “cannot stand by and ignore allegations”.

In a statement on social media, Walters, who appears alongside Clarke in Bulletproof, wrote: “My thoughts are with the women who have come forward and told their awful stories, I am 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 standby 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.”

Noel Clarke attending the after show party for the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel in central London.
Clarke is pictured at a previous BAFTA ceremony in London

Clarke, 45, has been accused of sexual harassment and bullying over a number of years after 20 women came forward to describe abuse to The Guardian newspaper.

The actor “vehemently” denies the claims, writing 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.”

It comes after Sky and production company Vertigo Films dropped Noel Clarke from any future productions following the allegations.

BAFTA has suspended his membership, described the allegations as “abhorrent”, and claims it did not know about them until after he received his most recent award.

Sky said it “stands against all forms of sexual harassment and bullying and takes any allegations of this nature extremely seriously”.

While Vertigo Films, which produces Bulletproof, said it was “devastated” and claims Clarke has also been removed from its shows.

Clarke, 45, had been commissioned to star in a fourth season of the drama, but filming has not yet started.

Clarke was awarded the outstanding British contribution to cinema (OBCC) prize at the BAFTA ceremony in London earlier this month.

But his membership was suspended and the award revoked following the allegations.

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Noel Clarke said he had fought to ‘elicit change’ in the industry during his BAFTA speech

BAFTA wrote to its members on Friday to say it did not learn of the allegations until after it announced Clarke would be getting the award.

In the letter, it said: “We did not know about any allegations relating to Noel Clarke prior to the announcement of the OBCC award on 29 March.”

The academy claims that although it had been emailed anonymous second and third-hand accounts of alleged misconduct, the accusers failed to go on record.

“Had the victims gone on record as they have with The Guardian, the award would have been suspended immediately,” BAFTA said.

Defending its actions, it added: “It would have been improper to halt the award at that point based on the extremely limited information that we had where the ultimate sources were unknown.”

Noel Clark (right) and Ashley Walters starred in Bulletproof
Noel Clarke (right) and Ashley Walters in Bulletproof

The academy stressed that it “has taken action against individuals who have been accused of similar behaviour in the past” and described the allegations as “extremely serious”.

Clarke is currently starring in the five-part ITV police drama Viewpoint.

Viewers have criticised the broadcaster for not pulling the final episode, due to air tonight, after the allegations came to light.

On Friday actor Michaela Coel, whose series I May Destroy You centres around sexual assault, came out in support of the women levelling the allegations.

She wrote on Twitter that she “stands with them in their indignation”.

“I am here to offer great support for the 20 brave women who have come forward,” she said.

“Speaking out about these incidents takes a lot of strength because some call them ‘grey areas’. They are however far from grey.”

Time’s Up, the organisation launched following the Harvey Weinstein scandal in 2018, said it is “live and alert to the types of behaviours” alleged by the 20 women.

Management and production company 42MP told Sky News it stopped representing Clarke earlier this month.

All3Media, which invests in Clarke’s production company, said it takes misconduct claims “extremely seriously” and is “looking into this as a matter of urgency”.

Clarke won early acclaim for his role in the films Kidulthood and Adulthood, which he starred in and also helped to write and direct.

He found more mainstream fame as Mickey Smith in Doctor Who from 2005 to 2010, and as Aaron Bishop in Bulletproof from 2018.

As well as his recent BAFTA, the London-born actor was awarded the academy’s rising star prize in 2009 after the success of his two breakout films.

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