ITV has decided to pull the final episode of the drama Viewpoint, after allegations of sexual harassment were made against its star, Noel Clarke.
The broadcaster said on Friday it has “a zero tolerance policy to bullying, harassment and victimisation”.
The Kidulthood and Doctor Who star, 45, has said he “vehemently” denies “any sexual misconduct or wrongdoing”.
In a statement on Thursday, he said he intended to “defend myself against these false allegations”.
The Guardian newspaper reported allegations from 20 women, all of whom knew Clarke in a professional capacity, on Thursday.
In response, a statement from ITV said: “We strongly believe that everyone deserves to work in a supportive and safe environment,”
“In light of the very serious nature of the allegations against Noel Clarke raised by 20 women in the Guardian’s report, ITV has decided it is no longer appropriate to broadcast the final episode of the drama Viewpoint on ITV main channel this evening.
“We are mindful that some of our viewers have already invested four hours of their time over the past four nights in following this thriller which was due to conclude this evening, and they have yet to see the final episode.”
It added it would make the finale available on ITV Hub on Friday night for a limited time “for any viewers who wish to seek it out, and watch its conclusion”.
It comes after Sky TV said it had “halted” its work with Clarke. He had previously starred in Sky’s crime drama Bulletproof, which had a fourth series commissioned in January.
“Effective immediately, we have halted Noel Clarke’s involvement in any future Sky productions,” the broadcaster said.
Fellow Bulletproof actor Ashley Walters responded to the allegations against his co-star by saying he was “in shock and deeply saddened by what I have heard on a multitude of levels”.
He said he “could never condone behaviour of this nature” and while “Noel has been a friend and a colleague for several years, I cannot stand by and ignore these allegations”.
He added: “Sexual harassment, abuse and bullying have no place in our industry.”
In his statement on Thursday, Clarke added: “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.”
Sky said it had not received any reports of sexual misconduct or harassment during or since the production of Bulletproof. “Sky stands against all forms of sexual harassment and bullying and takes any allegations of this nature extremely seriously,” the company said.
Bulletproof’s production company Vertigo Films also said: “Effective immediately, Noel Clarke is removed from any Vertigo Films production.”
A spokesperson for the company said it had “launched an urgent investigation to find out if any [alleged incidents] apply to any Vertigo Films productions”, but that “no issues have been flagged to us”.
Bafta defends award
Clarke has also been suspended by Bafta, weeks after he received one of the British film and TV academy’s top awards. He was given the outstanding British contribution to cinema prize at a ceremony on 10 April.
In a letter sent to its members on Friday, Bafta defended its decision to go ahead with the presentation despite having received emails about Clarke’s behaviour before the ceremony.
“These were either anonymous or second or third-hand accounts via intermediaries,” it said. “No first-hand allegations were sent to us. No names, times, dates, productions or other details were ever provided.
“Had the victims gone on record as they have with The Guardian, the award would have been suspended immediately. Noel Clarke’s counsel received a legal notice to this effect. It was always very clear what our intentions would be.”
The organisation described the allegations as “extremely serious” and said the alleged behaviour was “contrary to Bafta’s values and everything it stands for”.
“We completely understand why the individuals were extremely fearful to identify themselves to us, and we recognise how hard it is for victims to speak up,” it said. But Bafta added that it was “an arts charity that is not in a position to properly investigate such matters”.
The academy had been criticised by figures including Stella Creasy MP, who said the situation posed “very uncomfortable questions for Bafta”.
Shadow Northern Ireland minister Alex Davies Jones said: “If Bafta gave Noel Clarke an ‘outstanding contribution award’ despite knowing about the allegations against him then there are serious questions that need answering immediately.”
‘Takes a lot of strength’
Actor, writer and director Michaela Coel was among those praising the women who spoke out in the Guardian, and the journalists for their investigation.
“Speaking out about these incidents takes a lot of strength,” she wrote on Friday.
Earlier this week, Coel was nominated for a raft of Bafta Awards for I May Destroy You, her dramatised account of how she came to terms with a sexual assault.
Meanwhile, production company All3Media, which backs Clarke’s own company Unstoppable Film and TV, said: “We take allegations of this kind extremely seriously and are looking into this as a matter of urgency.”