BAFTA Boss Gets Apology From U.K. Newspapers Over Noel Clarke Allegations, Pens Emotional Letter to Members
BAFTA chair Krishnendu Majumdar has received an apology from two British newspapers, The Times of London and Mail Online, for falsely claiming he had “close links” with disgraced actor and director Noel Clarke.
Following sexual harassments allegations against Clarke from twenty women, which were made in the Guardian newspaper on April 29 of this year, The Times ran a story titled: “Bafta boss Krishnendu Majumdar worked with scandal star Noel Clarke on diversity.”
The piece focused on the fact that BAFTA had decided to award Clarke a prize for outstanding British contribution to cinema (OBCC) on April 10 despite having already been made aware of the allegations that subsequently appeared in the Guardian. BAFTA later explained they had decided to present Clarke with the award because of lack of evidence regarding the allegations.
BAFTA said the story in The Times “implied that because both the Chair and Clarke are men of colour, this also influenced the decision to present Clarke with the OBCC award. Both claims were baseless.”
Mail Online reproduced the story on their site, also focusing on the relationship between Majumdar and Clarke.
BAFTA confirms it “made a legal complaint to both publications in defamation given there were no ‘close links’ between the Chair and Noel Clarke. Outside of BAFTA, the Chair has never met or worked with Clarke. They are not friends or business associates.”
As well as issuing an apology, The Times has agreed to pay damages. BAFTA said “Mail Online is expected to follow suit.”
Today Majumdar also sent BAFTA members an emotional letter, in which he reflected on the “incredibly challenging” past year.
“I personally have been subject to false, misleading and damaging accusations in the press about BAFTA’s handling of the Noel Clarke situation,” he wrote, adding the accusations have been “extremely distressing to me personally and damaging to BAFTA.”
“I raise this because I, like everyone else on a BAFTA committee or the Board, am a volunteer who has a day job – I run an independent production company,” Majumdar continued. “I volunteer because I feel hugely passionately about the vital work that BAFTA does in supporting talent across the film, games and television industries. I have been inspired by the way the BAFTA staff have remained focused on our mission to continue this support and to nurture young people and those from underrepresented groups by transitioning our events programme and initiatives online during the pandemic.”
Today BAFTA also released the results of its compulsory global membership survey, which found fewer than 50% of members were women and only 12.2% were from minority ethnic groups. The organization has vowed to actively address areas of under-representation.
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