UK broadsheet the Times has issued an apology to BAFTA and its chair Krishnendu Majumdar over its claim in a May article that Majumdar had “close links” with the actor Noel Clarke, who is facing numerous allegations of misconduct, and that their relationship may have influenced the decision to present the actor with an honorary prize. The Mail Online has also agreed to issue a similar apology, the org said today, after picking up on the original report.
Here’s the Times’ apology in full: “In “BAFTA boss Krishnendu Majumdar worked with scandal star Noel Clarke on diversity” (News, 3 May), we reported concerns that Krishnendu Majumdar’s close links with Noel Clarke and their work together to promote diversity could have hampered Bafta’s handling of the sex allegations against Clarke. We accept that this suggestion is incorrect. There are no close links between the men. BAFTA’s response to the allegations was delegated to a group deputed to deal with the issue. BAFTA has explained that the matter was determined by the lack of evidence it had at the time of having to make its decision on whether to proceed with presenting Mr Clarke with an award. We apologize to Mr Majumdar and BAFTA for the distress.”
BAFTA presented Noel Clarke with its Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema award two weeks prior to allegations of sexual misconduct surfacing against the multi-hyphenate. According to the Guardian investigation which first broke the news, the organization was made aware of some accusations prior to giving him the award. BAFTA maintains that it did not have enough evidence to not go ahead with giving Clarke the already-announced prize, a claim that it reaffirmed today when reacting to the apologies from the Times and Mail Online. Shortly after the allegations were made public, BAFTA suspended Clarke’s membership and rescinded the award.
The org filed a legal complaint against both publications after the articles ran that claimed “close links” between Majumdar and Clarke over their work on diversity issues in the industry, implying that this may have influenced the decision to go ahead with Clarke’s award. The org stated the pair had never met or worked together and that they were not friends or business associates.
The Times has also agreed to pay damages to BAFTA, it said, and the Mail Online is expected to follow suit.
Today, Majumdar penned a letter to members in which he said that sexual misconduct allegations against actor Noel Clarke and producer Charlie Hanson have brought “shame” on the UK film and TV business, and must act as a “wake-up call” for improving complaints procedures for victims. More on that here.