The allegations against Noel Clarke - and what happens next

Kidulthood star facing string of sexual misconduct and bullying allegations

Noel Clarke
(Image credit: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

Bafta has suspended Noel Clarke after the London-born actor and director was accused of sexual harassment and bullying by 20 women.

The allegations were published following an investigation by The Guardian and come just weeks after Clarke – who wrote and starred in the acclaimed Kidulthood film trilogy was honoured for his “outstanding British contribution to cinema” by Bafta.

Sky TV has also “halted” its work with the star, who fronts the broadcaster's crime drama Bulletproof.

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Clarke has issued a statement “vehemently” denying the claims against him.

What are the allegations?

Guardian journalists spoke to 20 women – all of whom have worked with Clarke or knew him in a professional capacity – who have made a series of sexual misconduct allegations against him spanning a 15-year period.

The alleged abuse includes “sexual harassment, unwanted touching or groping, sexually inappropriate behaviour and comments on set, professional misconduct, taking and sharing sexually explicit pictures and videos without consent, and bullying between 2004 and 2019”, write reporters Sirin Kale and Lucy Osborne.

Producer Gina Powell - who worked with the actor on his film Brotherhood between 2014 and 2017 - told the newspaper that Clarke said he had planned to “fuck her and fire her” before keeping her on. She also alleges that “Clarke would brag about storing sexually explicit pictures and videos on his hard drive, including footage he told her he had secretly filmed during naked auditions”.

Powell further alleges that Clarke showed her a “secretly recorded video” of a naked audition in which she recognised a friend whom she had encouraged to apply for the role on the understanding the nude audition would not be filmed. The actor in question, Jahannah James, said the process was “mortifying”, adding: “Now, years later, I still cry when I talk about it.”

Another actor, who was not named by the paper but appeared in Kidulthood, said the sexual harassment she received from Clarke was “constant”, according to The Guardian. The actor alleges that early on in filming, Clarke “put his tongue in my mouth”, adding that he “would grab her as she walked past on set, touch her waist and try to kiss her”.

Other misconduct claims include allegations that he exposed himself to a producer in a car, as well as bullying and claims he violated industry standards during shoots involving nudity.

In a 29-page letter from his lawyers, Clarke said he “vehemently denies” the allegations of “sexual misconduct or wrongdoing”, adding that he intends to “defend myself against these false allegations”. He admitted to only one of the claims against him, saying “he once made inappropriate comments about one woman, for which he later apologised”, The Guardian adds.

The paper also spoke to people who have worked with Clarke who had only positive things to say about him. One actor said “suggestions of misconduct did not tally with her experiences of Clarke, whom she described as ‘generous and supportive’”.

The fallout

Bafta, which presented Clarke with one of its most prestigious awards at the Royal Albert Hall on 10 April, has suspended the actor over the allegations.

But The Guardian claims the institution knew of the claims of sexual harassment and bullying against Clarke almost two weeks before he was presented with the award. It was “Bafta’s decision to venerate Clarke that moved numerous women to break their silence”, the paper says.

“Bafta urgently needs to address why they chose to publicly honour Noel Clark [sic] apparently 13 days after first being made aware of allegations against him”, tweeted Roisin O’Connor, music correspondent at the Independent.

Doctor Who and Whitechapel actor Christina Chong tweeted that the allegations were “the UK film industry’s best kept secret”, while comedian London Hughes added that she was told about one of the allegations against the The Guardian story a decade ago. “I was sickened by it then, and I’m sickened by it now. Believe women,” she tweeted.

Bectu (the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union) said in a statement that it was “seeking a meeting with BAFTA urgently”, adding that it welcomed the decision to suspend Clarke but that “this cannot be the end of the matter” and that “the allegations must be urgently investigated with lessons learned for the whole industry”.

In his denial of the claims, Clarke said that “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. If anyone who has worked with me has ever felt uncomfortable or disrespected, I sincerely apologise.”

The actor has been dropped by his management company, 42 M&P, reports the BBC. The company said it “no longer represented Clarke” when approached for comment by the broadcaster.

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 Sorcha Bradley is a writer at The Week and a regular on “The Week Unwrapped” podcast. She worked at The Week magazine for a year and a half before taking up her current role with the digital team, where she mostly covers UK current affairs and politics. Before joining The Week, Sorcha worked at slow-news start-up Tortoise Media. She has also written for Sky News, The Sunday Times, the London Evening Standard and Grazia magazine, among other publications. She has a master’s in newspaper journalism from City, University of London, where she specialised in political journalism.