‘It happened in plain sight’: Entertainment industry calls for change after Noel Clarke claims

An open letter signed by hundreds of members of the entertainment industry has called for a change in culture, in the wake of allegations made against Noel Clarke.

Some 20 women made claims of bullying and sexual harassment against the actor, writer and director in an investigation first published in the Guardian newspaper.

Clarke later had his BAFTA membership suspended, Sky halted any work with him and the season finale of ITV’s Viewpoint was not broadcast.

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BAFTA has defended its decision to present Noel Clarke with its outstanding British contribution to cinema award.

The letter from entertainment industry figures was shared on social media and said it was “time to put an end to this culture that turns a blind eye to predators and harassers operating in plain sight”.

Clarke has “vehemently” denied any sexual misconduct or criminal wrongdoing.

The letter was written by freelance producer Meriel Beale, an officer for trade union Bectu, and signed by figures including former Channel 4 commissioner Kelly Webb-Lamb and broadcasters Dermot O’Leary and Joe Lycett.

“After reading the Noel Clarke allegations, many of us within the TV and film industry started sharing our own stories of sexual harassment and sexual abuse,” it said.

More on Noel Clarke

“His case is not a one-off and, shockingly, is not an extreme example. It has happened to so many of us that it seems normal.

“It has happened to so many of us at the hands of men in positions of power within the industry – whether industry colleagues, presenters or actors. It has happened in plain sight.”

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The Met Police have confirmed they’ve received a complaint relating to allegations of sexual offences against Noel Clarke.

A total of 800 people have signed the letter, which is calling on men to point out bad behaviour and for more women to hold senior positions.

It added: “We don’t want to be seen as ‘killjoys’ and we don’t want to anger the men into violence.

“It is a constant, terrifying tightrope. We are exhausted and we are angry.

“All of this contributes to us being undervalued in TV.

“Many men won’t recognise or notice sexist micro-aggressions – the low-level hum of sexism – and many women will accept it as part of the culture.

“It has been normalised, but it is not normal.

“We need more women in senior positions in TV and film. We need them to be allies and to be empowered to make real change.

“We need older women and women with caring responsibilities so that this filters down throughout the industry.

“We need women to be taken seriously. We need men to call out bad behaviour.”

Following the allegations, Clarke said: “I vehemently deny any sexual misconduct or criminal wrongdoing.

“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.”

Noel Clark (right) and Ashley Walters starred in Bulletproof
Image:
Noel Clark (right) and Ashley Walters starred in Bulletproof together. Walters said he “cannot stand by the allegations”

Ashley Walters, Clarke’s co-star in Sky’s Bulletproof, said he is “deeply saddened” by the claims and “cannot stand by and ignore allegations”.

Clarke’s Kidulthood co-star Adam Deacon subsequently alleged that the star sabotaged his career and his “gaslighting” led to a “complete breakdown” of his mental health.

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