British Actor Noel Clarke Accused of Sexual Misconduct; Michaela Coel Supports 20 'Brave Women' Who Came Forward

Noel Clarke attends the BAFTA Film Gala, ahead of the EE British Academy Film Awards on February 08, 2019.
Noel Clarke attends the BAFTA Film Gala, ahead of the EE British Academy Film Awards on February 08, 2019.
Photo: Tristan Fewings (Getty Images)

Content Warning: The following article contains details of alleged sexual misconduct, including unauthorized sharing of explicit photos, groping, harassment and bullying.

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British actor Noel Clarke (Doctor Who) has been accused of sexual misconduct by 20 women, according to an investigative report published by The Guardian on Thursday. The women allege that the acclaimed actor is “a serial abuser of women, using his power in the industry to prey on and harass female colleagues, and sometimes bully those who fall out of favor.”

More details from The Guardian:

The Guardian has spoken to 20 women, all of whom knew Clarke in a professional capacity. They variously accuse him of sexual harassment, unwanted touching or groping, sexually inappropriate behavior and comments on set, professional misconduct, taking and sharing sexually explicit pictures and videos without consent, and bullying between 2004 and 2019.

“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,” Clarke said in a statement. “If anyone who has worked with me has ever felt uncomfortable or disrespected, I sincerely apologize. I vehemently deny any sexual misconduct or wrongdoing and intend to defend myself against these false allegations.”

The Guardian further reported that the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) honored Clarke with Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema prize in early April and that the organization had previously “received anonymous emails and reports of allegations via intermediaries, but said it was provided with no evidence that would allow it to investigate.”

“We are grateful that The Guardian was able to provide a platform where the victims were able to identify themselves, and to come forward and tell their stories,” BAFTA wrote in a lengthy statement to Deadline, noting they were not aware of allegations against Clarke prior to the announcement of the OBCC award. “As soon as The Guardian published firsthand accounts yesterday we immediately suspended the award and Noel Clarke’s membership of BAFTA  until further notice.” 

British actress, screenwriter, director and producer Michaela Coel posted a statement of support for the women who came forward on her official Twitter page on Friday.

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“I am here to offer great support for the 20 brave women who have come forward; those who have shared their identities with us, but also those who have preferred to use an alias; the mental hurdles a Black woman must overcome to do such a thing as reveal their identity within a narrative of rape abuse or bullying at the hands of someone [within] our own community can sometimes be too much,” Coel tweeted.

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In addition to speaking out about her own experience of being sexually assaulted, Coel sparked further conversations around consent with her critically acclaimed HBO series I May Destroy You.

“Speaking out about these incidents takes a lot of strength because some call them ‘gray areas.’ They are, however, far from gray,” Coel added. “These behaviors are unprofessional, violent and can destroy a person’s perception of themselves, their place in the world and their career irreparably.”

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

DISCUSSION

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I’m gonna go ahead and call bullshit on his explanation/pseudo-apology.

No, I have no proof of anything, and for all I know, he didn’t do anything wrong.

But most men STILL don’t know shit about women, assault, and how easy and common it is to combine the two (hell, there are entire industries built around “blurring lines”, which is what a shitty misogynist says when he really means “rape and assault, but in a way that doesn’t make me feel bad”).

If anyone who has worked with me has ever felt uncomfortable or disrespected, I sincerely apologize.”

And again, someone “apologizing” who feels the need to include the word “if”. Because “if” either no one comes forward, or those who do can be smeared and/or dissuaded, then he certainly doesn’t want an open apology out there for all to see.

Fuck all men until we can trust AT LEAST most men. And I say that as a man, because most of you fuckers are completely oblivious to the harm you’ve done and continue to do.

Learn better, and do better.