Noel Clarke has spoken publicly about why he dropped his lawsuit against BAFTA over a Guardian article accusing him of sexual harassment and bullying. Within hours of the article’s publication in April 2021, BAFTA suspended the actor, writer and director who had received a prize for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema from the org just weeks earlier.
Clarke launched the defamation claim last spring, on the one year anniversary of the expose being published. As well as listing The Guardian and BAFTA as defendants he included journalists Sirin Kale and Lucy Osborne (who wrote the article), then-BAFTA chair Krishnendu Majumdar, then-BAFTA CEO Amanda Berry, performers’ union Equity, Conde Nast and a handful of other individuals linked to the piece.
Last September, however, he dropped the claims against all the defendants except The Guardian. In a new interview on YouTube with Zeze Millz, Clarke explained why. “I did that because they just, essentially, they reacted to the article,” he told Millz. “The article is the cause of everything. Everything that happened in my life, in my career, in my world, everything, it stems from the article so for me there was no point in going after everyone else when actually that was the main source.”
During the conversation with Millz, Clarke said there were some questions he couldn’t answer due to ongoing legal action although he did not specify what that was aside from confirming the police had declined to speak to him about any of the allegations.
A note above the article on The Guardian’s website still reads: “This article is the subject of legal proceedings from Noel Clarke” but court filings do not show any progression in the case. A spokesperson for Clarke did not respond to Variety by press time.
When Millz specifically asked about one of the women who had made allegations against Clarke in The Guardian’s story, the “Kidulthood” director responded: “As you know there’s there’s legal things going on – and, to your point, not me getting looked at [by police] but me trying to sue a newspaper – and the fact that I went to the police there’s stuff happening there, so I don’t really want to talk about her but what I will say is sometimes you fall out with people. Sometimes you can be close with people, you can be tight with them, and then you fall out. That’s that can happen in life.”
Millz also asked Clarke whether he hoped to make a professional comeback. “That’s not up to me, that’s up to people watching,” he replied. “That’s up to people in the industry going ‘Wait a second, why did we actually do that?’ Do you know what I mean?”
“That’s beyond my control because the difficulty is is like, everybody knows I was sort of the rebel anyway, right, so I did it without these people opening the doors and I got in myself. Now they’ve slammed the doors so now to get back in they have to open the doors.”
Clarke’s career collapsed overnight after The Guardian published an article in April 2021 in which 20 women accused him of sexual harassment and bullying. Last summer he revealed he is writing a screenplay about his experiences.