30 Apr Noel Clarke: Co-star Ashley Walters ‘deeply saddened’ by harassment claims but ‘cannot stand by and ignore allegations’ | Ents & Arts News
Co-star Ashley Walters has said he is “deeply saddened” by claims against Noel Clarke but 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.”
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.”
Clarke is currently starring in the five-part ITV police drama Viewpoint, although the broadcaster has announced it is pulling the final episode which was due to air on Friday evening.
The broadcaster said it was “no longer appropriate” to show the programme and added it would instead be making the series finale available on its catch-up service “for a limited time”.
One of Clarke’s co-stars in the series, Alexandra Roach, tweeted that she believed the accusers.
“I see you. I hear you. I believe you,” she said. “Thank you to the women for your incredible bravery in coming forward and helping to put a stop to this kind of behaviour in our industry.”
She added: “If I could stop working with sexual predators… that would be great.”
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.
Sky and production company Vertigo Films have dropped Noel Clarke from any future productions following the allegations.
“Had the victims gone on record as they have with The Guardian, the award would have been suspended immediately,” BAFTA said.
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.”
Management and production company 42M&P 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.