By Gabriel Princewill-
Actor and director Noel Clarke has been suspended by Bafta, following a raft of sexual harassment, weeks after he was awarded one of its top prizes.
The Kidulthood and Doctor Who actor, 45, was given the outstanding British contribution to cinema prize at a ceremony on 10 April has been disgraced by the detailed and compelling accounts of sexual harassment allegations against women with whom he worked.
Disturbing accounts of sexual touching, prurient comments, and a deplorable pool of sexual misdemeanours, the outstanding actor, script writer and film director appears to have fallen from hero to zero in the wake of the very embarrassing revelations.
One particular disturbing account from Gina Powell than Clarke once told her he planned “to fxxxx her and fire her” before deciding to keep her on, was one of the most repugnant of Clarke’s distasteful conduct laid bare among numerous others. She also alleged that Clarke would brag about storing sexually explicit pictures and videos on his hard drive, including footage he told her he had secretly filmed during naked auditions.
Clarke was also accused by many witnesses of showing colleagues sexually explicit photos and videos of women, or implied he had access to them. He is also accused of unsolicited sharing of sexually explicit images. The reports are a damning indictment on his integrity.
Clarke who appeared on stage at the Royal Albert Hall on 10 April to collect his Bafta- the prize for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema, was the recipient of one of the most envied accolades in the film industry.
Bafta was made aware of several allegations of verbal abuse, bullying and sexual harassment against Clarke. The allegations were wide ranging, presenting the outstanding actor as premeditated culprit of lewd tendencies who exploited his well placed position in the film industry
Bafta acknowledged knowledge of the allegations via intermediaries, but said it had no evidence to enable an investigation. Notwithstanding the absence of irrefutable evidence, the sheer number of credible complaints from many professional women in the industry forced the hands of Bafta to suspend one of its most notable stars.
Clarke’s laudable accomplishments as an actor, producer, screenwriter and director is now severely tarnished with allegations of reprehensible conduct tantamount to sexual harassment.
As numerous women joined a long list of others to label Clarke a serial abuser of women, abising his power to harass female colleagues, and sometimes bully those who fell out of favour with him, his word began crashing before his very eyes.
His several misdemeanours include secret filming, 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.
The Kidulthood and Doctor Who actor, 45, who was given the outstanding British contribution to cinema prize at a ceremony on 10 April has let himself and his fans down badly. A resuscitation of his once glittering career now seems inconceivable.
A 29-page letter from his lawyers categorically denying all of the other allegations, from all 20 women, bar one, did little to abate the pressure to have him suspended. His Lawyers are paid to defend their clients, but not even the best can perform magic on a hopeless case with overwhelming evidence.
Bafta confirmed in a statement that, following its 29 March announcement that it planned to give Clarke the award, it received “anonymous emails and reports of allegations via intermediaries, but no evidence was provided”. Lawyers for Bafta said the charity had no duty to investigate Clarke, but, in any case, it was never given any information to enable it to do so and at no stage was it in a position where it could even begin to consider investigating.
“We take this matter extremely seriously,” Bafta added. “We encouraged the people who contacted us to report the matter to the appropriate authorities and also engaged an independent victim support expert to provide them with professional advice, and that support remains in place.
“We will continue to review this matter, and should any allegations be substantiated we will take appropriate action.”
After the Guardian published a copious string of his unacceptable conduct, the Bafta awards was forced to throw the towel in. An updated statement read:. “In light of the Guardian’s piece, which for Bafta provided for the first time detailed accounts outlining serious allegations regarding Noel Clarke’s conduct, we have immediately suspended the award and Noel Clarke’s membership of Bafta until further notice.”
Clarke is one of the most prominent actors and film-makers in the UK. His trio of films Kidulthood (2006), Adulthood (2008) and Brotherhood (2016) were celebrated for their portrayal of inner-city life and grossed £8.6m.
Clarke writes, executive produces and stars alongside Ashley Walters in Bulletproof, one of Sky’s biggest shows; series 4 is in pre-production. His company, Unstoppable Film & Television, has produced more than 10 films, in addition to Bulletproof and the Channel 5 drama The Drowning. He is on Bafta’s influential film committee and is a mentor for ITV, bringing him into contact with young, aspiring screenwriters.
Only this week, Clarke has been starring in ITV’s new flagship prime time drama, Viewpoint, airing each evening from Monday to Friday.
Sexually Explicit Photos
According to numerous accounts, Clarke showed colleagues sexually explicit photos and videos of women, or implied he had access to them. He is also accused of unsolicited sharing of sexually explicit images.
Through his lawyers, Clarke denied in the strongest possible terms that he ever sexually harassed or bullied Powell, or treated her in the way she alleges. They said Clarke does not have a hard drive containing naked photographs of women and denies covertly filming naked auditions, including one of James, or showing such footage to Powell. They described such allegations as false and defamatory.
One of the reports relating to an incident on 23 July 2015, Seltveit sent an email from her production company account, thanking him for the weekend and expressing an interest in working with him one day. Clarke replied, from his Unstoppable account. “Great meeting you,” he said. “Would love to work with you one day.” A second email arrived. “Also. Sent you some Snapchats. Have a look.” When Seltveit checked Snapchat, Clarke had sent her a picture of a naked, erect penis.
Allegations of unwanted sexual contact
Several women also allege that Clarke would at times subject them to unwanted physical contact, kissing them, groping them or subjecting them to unsolicited sexual behaviour. They include Powell, who has given the Guardian detailed accounts of events she alleges took place during a work trip with Clarke to Los Angeles in August 2015. On one occasion, she says, Clarke exposed himself in a car. She recalls telling him: “Noel, that’s not right.”
A particular account from Gina Powell than Clarke once told her he planned “to fxxxx her and fire her” before deciding to keep her on. She also alleges that Clarke would brag about storing sexually explicit pictures and videos on his hard drive, including footage he told her he had secretly filmed during naked auditions.
One woman who was a teenager claimed he put his tongue in her mouth and threatened her career, saying she would never work again, after she refused to be filmed in a sex scene with her. She described him as a sexual predator.
Described as a power freak, the director, writer and producer to target female co-stars and crew, sometimes – they allege – introducing himself to female colleagues by telling them he is a sex addict. The claims are so detailed, they evoke the well known saying that there is no smoke without fire.