Noel Clarke sues BAFTA for defamation over suspended membership

Noel Clarke is suing BAFTA for defamation following its decision to suspend his membership amid allegations of sexual harassment and bullying.

In an exposé published by The Guardian in April 2021, the Bulletproof actor was accused by 20 women of a variety of wrongdoings including bullying, sexual harassment and unwanted sexual contact.

The claims emerged shortly after Clarke won the Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema award at the BAFTAs 2021. It was reported that the Academy had been made aware of the allegations prior to giving Clarke the prize but took the decision to proceed due to a lack of evidence.

However, BAFTA subsequently suspended the award and revoked the actor’s membership.

Clarke has denied all claims through his lawyers except for one, accepting that he once made inappropriate comments about one woman for which he later apologised.

According to The Sunday Times (via Deadline), Clarke filed a defamation lawsuit against BAFTA at London’s High Court last week. It comes after the Metropolitan Police decided there was not enough evidence to launch an investigation in March.

Noel Clarke. CREDIT: Dave Benett/Getty Images

“If any further criminal allegations related to those already assessed are reported then it will be thoroughly considered,” the Met wrote in a statement.

In response to Clarke’s lawsuit, a BAFTA spokesperson said: “A year ago, BAFTA was transparent about what led to Mr Clarke’s award and membership being suspended following serious accusations of groping, harassment and bullying by 20 women published by The Guardian.

“We stand by our decision and are very surprised by the news he now wishes to sue the arts charity. If proceedings are served, we will of course defend ourselves.”

Per Variety‘s report, Clarke is also suing The Guardian Media Group and Condé Nast, the owner of GQ; the magazine ran an interview with the two journalists who broke the story.

In a statement last year after denying the allegations, Clarke said: “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.”

After the news of the allegations surfaced, ITV made the decision to pull the finale of Clarke’s Viewpoint. Sky, meanwhile, dropped Clarke and suspended production on the new season of Bulletproof until further notice.

For help, advice or more information regarding sexual harassment, assault and rape in the UK, visit the Rape Crisis charity website. In the US, visit RAINN.


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