UPDATE, 11 AM: Glee actor Mark Salling has been dropped from Adi Shankar’s Gods and Secrets following his indictment for possession of child pornography. Shankar said today in a statement that the film would be moving forward without Salling and that Shankar will personally pay for the re-shoots. Shankar’s full statement is below:
The innocence of our planet’s children is something that must be protected at all costs. As entertainers, our role is to be the “conscience of humanity,” striving to make the world better for future generations. Sadly, we live in a country where statistically at least 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, 80,000 children are reportedly sexually abused every year, and at least 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18. Even more troubling, exponentially more cases go unreported as in most situations, authority figures are ill equipped to help. Every two minutes, an American is sexually assaulted.
The aforementioned statistics are nauseating, reminiscent of a third world country, and until very recently, kept out of the limelight. Child abuse is a cultural cancer whose tentacles penetrate far deeper than a single celebrity caught with illicit images on his computer, just as date rape is a is a far more prominent issue than the repeated transgressions of one mediocre entertainer from the 1970’s. Child abuse is a democratic disease existing across socioeconomic lines affecting every walk of life. It affects all of us, and more importantly, its existence needs to cece to exist. Period.
Adi Shankar’s Gods and Secrets will be moving forward without Mark Salling. He has been cut from the mini-series, I will personally be paying for the reshoots, and I hope that Mark finds inner peace. Furthermore, a percentage of profits from the project will go to a charity for abused children. Hopefully some good will come of all of this and I pray that when the dust has settled, the hyper-connectivity of the information age that has brought to light the transgressions of several public figures, will also force us to look within our society to identify and eliminate the root cause of the rape culture we exist in.
PREVIOUS, Friday PM: Glee actor Mark Salling faces up to 2o-years in prison after he was charged today in a federal indictment for receiving and possessing child pornography on his laptop computer and a flash memory drive. Salling, best known for his role as Noah Puckerman on the Fox show, was named in a two-count indictment returned today by a federal grand jury.
The U.S Attorney’s Office from the Central District of California said Salling through his lawyer has agreed to surrender to federal authorities June 3 to face the two charges and be arraigned. The charge of receiving child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years. The possession charge also carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years.
“Those who download and possess child pornography create a market that causes more children to be harmed,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Young victims are harmed every time an image is generated, every time it is distributed, and every time it is viewed.”
The indictment alleges Salling used the Internet to receive a still image and a video depicting child pornography on December 26, 2015. The second count charges him with possessing two videos depicting child pornography on December 29. The images and videos in both instances depicted young girls.
At the time of his arrest in December, Salling had just wrapped work on Adi Shankar’s film Gods And Secrets, which was shooting in Los Angeles. The arrest was not expected to impact production on the pic, but Shankar did respond to it:
“Today I was made aware of the serious allegations against Salling as a result of numerous media outlets hounding me as to whether he would remain in ‘Adi Shankar’s Gods & Secrets,’ ” he said in a statement. “I won’t feed our growing pitchfork culture. I’m going to wait for all the facts to arrive and if in fact these allegations are true, I will immediately take action which includes removing his scenes from the project.”
UPDATE, DECEMBER 30 PM: The LAPD offered some details today about the arrest of former Glee actor Salling on child pornography charges. It said special agents from the Department of Homeland Security worked the investigation along with the LAPD’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit. Police say “images and video of child pornography were recovered on Salling’s electronic media devices.” The actor was booked at LAPD’s Metropolitan Detention Center, and bail was set at $20,000.
PREVIOUS, DECEMBER 29: Former Glee star Mark Salling has been arrested for possession of child pornography. Los Angeles police department officials say the arrest was made after a warrant was obtained to search the 33-year-old actor’s residence in Sunland. More details are expected soon.
Salling recently worked on Adi Shankar’s Gods And Secrets, which has been filming in Los Angeles. Shankar, the film’s co-director and executive producer, is currently in Dubai, and a source said filming is nearly completed. Salling’s arrest is not expected to affect the production.
Salling, who played Noah “Puck” Puckerman on 96 episodes of Fox’s Glee, is a former child actor who got his start in show business at the age of 14 on Children Of The Corn: The Gathering.
Salling is the third industry figure arrested for possession of child pornography this year. In July, director Jace Alexander was arrested for “possessing and file-sharing illegal and obscene performances of sexual conduct by children less than 17 years of age.” A month later, former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle was arrested on charges that the received and distributed child pornography, and engaged in sexually explicit acts with children. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.