Noel Clarke’s ‘close links’ to BAFTA boss revealed: Chief who gave gong to star despite being told of sex claims worked with him to increase diversity in awards last year
- Krishnendu Majumdar and Noel Clarke ‘worked together on Bafta diversity drive’
- Drive was launched after criticism its nominations were ‘overwhelmingly white’
- 27 women made claims of sexual harassment and misconduct against Clarke
- Clarke ‘deeply’ sorry for his actions, but ‘vehemently’ denies sexual misconduct
- Bafta has denied knowing about the allegations prior to giving Clarke an award
The Bafta boss who have gave Noel Clarke an award despite being told of sex claims against the actor had worked with him as part of a diversity drive a year earlier, it has been claimed.
Krishnendu Majumdar is said to have teamed up with the Viewpoint star to help increase diversity in the Bafta awards last year.
The diversity drive was launched after criticism, including from Prince William, that the nominees were ‘overwhelmingly white’.
It has since been claimed that Bafta was made aware of sexual harassment claims against Clarke prior to handing him an award for outstanding British contribution to cinema.
But lawyers for Bafta are said to have advised bosses at the time that the claims – which at that point did not include first hand accounts – did not warrant suspending the award to Clarke, according to the Times.
Bafta denies knowing about the claims against Clarke prior to the announcement of the award in March.
After Clarke was given the award, the Guardian printed allegations from 20 women who claimed they were sexually harassed or groped by the celebrated actor and director over a 15 year period.
A further seven women have since come forward.
Clarke has said he is ‘deeply sorry’ for his actions but strongly denies sexual misconduct or any criminal wrongdoing.
The Bafta boss who have gave Noel Clarke (pictured) an award despite being told of sex claims against the actor had worked with him as part of a diversity drive a year earlier, it has been claimed
Krishnendu Majumdar is said to have teamed-up with the Viewpoint star to help increase diversity in the Bafta awards
According to the Times, Mr Majumdar, the first person of colour to become chairman of Bafta, was deputy chairman last year when he led a group aiming to increase diversity in the awards.
Clarke, who has been a consistent advocate of diversity in the British film industry, in which he previously claimed racism is embedded, was reportedly a member of that same steering group.
It is claimed Bafta first learned of the allegations on March 29 – the day the award was announced – when award-winning film director Sally El Hosaini, talent manager Pelumi Akindude and Bafta-winning actor James Krishna Floyd wrote a joint letter to the organisation’s chiefs.
In the letter they said they were ‘extremely concerned’ about its intention to give Clarke the award given the first-hand accounts they had heard.
Later the Guardian printed the allegations of the 20 women. Bafta then suspended the award and Clarke’s membership.
A spokesperson for Bafta said in a statement on its website: ‘We acted as quickly and supportively as we could, even though we had only received the most generic of claims and no actual firsthand information to investigate allegations which were potentially of a criminal nature.
‘Our lawyers have advised us every step of the way during this process to ensure we handled the matter correctly.
‘Given that we did not have any of the personal testimony that The Guardian produced we were in an invidious situation and it would have been improper to halt the award at that point based on the extremely limited information that we had where the ultimate sources were unknown.’
It comes as Bafta president Prince William yesterday said he was ‘kept in the dark’ about the sex allegations ahead of the actor-producer’s recognition by the academy.
The Duke of Cambridge’s speech was cancelled because of the death of his grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh but it is reported he had planned to praise Bafta for its diversity.
Bafta President Prince William (pictured, left, at last year’s ceremony) was ‘kept in dark’ about allegations facing actor and producer Noel Clark (right) and was due to praise the academy for its diversity before his speech was cancelled after the death of his grandfather last month
Prince William had shared his ‘frustration’ at the lack of diversity at the white-dominated Baftas last year and announced a ‘full and thorough review’.
But as the academy rewarded Mr Clarke for his ‘outstanding British contribution’ to cinema, its president was set to praise Bafta, unaware that Clarke faced a string of sexual misconduct allegations, the Sunday Times reported.
Yesterday one of the actresses to make sexual misconduct claims against Clark said she called the police alleging the actor secretly filmed her naked during an audition.
Jahannah James, 31, is one of the 27 women who have accused the Viewpoint star, 45, of a campaign of sexual harassment and bullying.
Ms James, who co-starred in Brotherhood with Clarke, claims the actor secretly filmed her while she did a naked audition.
The actress, who made the claim on Twitter, was questioned by some social media users as to why she ‘did not go to the police’ at the time.
However, Ms James has now claimed she did in fact speak to officers, but they declined to open an investigation.
Writing on Twitter, she said: ‘I tried to go to the police, they said they couldn’t do anything unless he threatened me with the footage!!!
Jahannah James is one of the 27 women who have accused the Viewpoint star of a campaign of sexual harassment and bullying
‘And I wasn’t in a place where I could speak out alone at the time. It’s only together we’ve been able to speak now.’
It comes as Scotland Yard has said it is ‘assessing’ a specific allegation, following claims from 27 women now saying they were sexually harassed or groped by the celebrated actor and director. He strongly denies the allegations.
The Met Police confirmed that a ‘third-party report’ was made on April 21 ‘relating to allegations of sexual offences committed by a male over a period of time’.
A third party report is when claims are made to an organisation separate from the police. This type of report is anonymous and means the claims cannot be probed by officers but can be used as intelligence.
A spokesman said no criminal investigation had been launched but that officers are ‘currently assessing the information’.
They added: ‘We would urge anyone who believes they have been subjected to a sexual offence to report this to police so the information can be assessed and investigated accordingly.’
Clarke has apologised ‘deeply’ for his actions, but has ‘vehemently’ denied sexual misconduct or criminal behaviour.
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