BAFTA, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, has suspended British actor and producer Noel Clarke following allegations of sexual misconduct.
The body told CNN in a statement on Friday that it had made the decision to suspend Clarke’s membership, along with his recent award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema, “in light of the allegations of serious misconduct” leveled against him in the Guardian newspaper.
“BAFTA has taken the decision to suspend his membership and the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema award immediately and until further notice,” it added.
The suspension comes just weeks after Clarke was given the award — one of the academy’s most prestigious honors — at its annual ceremony on April 10.
According to the Guardian, claims of sexual harassment and bullying were made against Clarke by 20 women, all of whom knew him in a professional capacity between 2004 and 2019.
The Guardian claims BAFTA was aware of some of the allegations before the award ceremony.
The 45-year-old star, best known for his roles in “Doctor Who” and the film “Kidulthood,” denied any wrongdoing in a statement to the Guardian through his lawyers.
“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,” he said in the statement. “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.”
CNN has contacted Clarke’s representatives for further comment.
In a statement sent to its members and shared with CNN, BAFTA said it had received allegations against Clarke ahead of the award ceremony but was unable to take action because the claims were made anonymously or indirectly.
“No firsthand allegations were sent to us. No names, times, dates, productions or other details were ever provided,” the academy said.
“We very much regret that women felt unable to provide us with the kind of firsthand testimony that has now appeared in The Guardian,” it continued, adding: “Had we been in receipt of this, we would never have presented the award to Noel Clarke.”
On Friday, UK broadcaster Sky, which recently aired a third season of Clarke’s detective series “Bulletproof,” announced it had halted any future work with him, “effective immediately.” The company said it “stands against all forms of sexual harassment and bullying and takes any allegations of this nature extremely seriously.”
Vertigo Films, the production company behind “Bulletproof,” said: “We are devastated to hear about these allegations and have launched an urgent investigation to find out if any apply to any Vertigo Films productions. Our immediate concern is for any cast or crew who may have had a negative experience on set.”
Clarke’s “Bulletproof” co-star, Ashley Walters, said in a statement: “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.”
“Whilst Noel has been a friend and colleague for several years, I cannot stand by and ignore these allegations,” Walters added.
In the wake of the allegations, broadcaster ITV pulled the final episode of “Viewpoint,” a tense, five-part drama starring Clarke, from Friday’s prime-time 9 pm slot, saying it was “no longer appropriate” for the last installment to air. It said it would make the episode available online for a limited period.
An ITV spokesperson said: “ITV has a zero tolerance policy to bullying, harassment and victimisation and robust procedures in place to investigate and deal with any complaints. We strongly believe that everyone deserves to work in a supportive and safe environment.”
In 2006, London-born Clarke won plaudits for his gritty drama “Kidulthood”, a film he wrote and starred in, about a group of troubled west London teenagers.
The sequel “Adulthood,” which Clarke directed, was released in 2008 and a third film, “Brotherhood,” premiered in 2016.
Starring in “Doctor Who” as Mickey Smith, Clarke made history as the Doctor’s first-ever Black companion.