British actor-producer Noel Clarke has spoken out for the first time since the Metropolitan Police announced that none of the allegations of being a sexual predator and bully made against the double BAFTA winner met the threshold for further police inquiry, and that they would be ceasing to investigate him.
Clarke, who saw a catalogue of projects cancelled in the light of the allegations made against him and the closure of his production company, told the Daily Mail:
“There has been no arrest, no charges, no trial, no verdict but I have been criminalised. This is a form of modern McCarthyism.”
He said: “If we don’t need police and judges and juries any more, if we only need social media and the broadcasters, then what world do we live in? At what point did the broadcasters in this country become the judges, juries and executioners of people? At what point did BAFTA decide they were no longer about films, but they were about judging people’s lives? This is not about me, it’s bigger, it’s about due process. Yes, people have said these things about me – but if I say you’re a donkey, it doesn’t make you a donkey, does it?”
His comments come after BAFTA suspended his membership and withdrew its award to him for outstanding achievement in the British film industry, following the publication of the allegations in the Guardian newspaper. The complaints were made by more than 20 women and spanned a 15-year period, with claims including unwanted touching, groping, inappropriate behaviour and the covert filming of a naked audition. Clarke has always denied all allegations made against him.
He is now suing BAFTA and the Guardian for defamation. He is also suing magazine publisher Conde Nast, which ran a piece about the controversy in its GQ magazine.
“Twenty years of work was gone in 24 hours,” Clarke told the Mail. “I lost everything. The company I built from the ground up, my TV shows, my movies, my book deals, the industry respect I had. In my heart and my head it has damaged me in a way I cannot articulate.”
Looking ahead, he says he wants the film and TV industry to create a framework where “women and vulnerable people are protected but which also protects people who may be thrown under the bus unjustly,” and where people can “differentiate between an evil guy and someone who might have made a mis-step.”
Clarke adds that he can’t see an easy way back to his career after being “cancelled” by BAFTA, broadcasters and production companies.
“None of them wants to be wrong. They made such big, bold statements. Then there’s the current climate, the moment anyone speaks out, or even says, ‘Hold on a second, what’s the context?’ society turns on them too.”