Bafta president Prince William was ‘kept in the dark’ about the Noel Clarke sex allegations ahead of the actor-producer’s recognition by the academy.
The Duke of Cambridge’s speech was cancelled because of the death of his grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh but it is reported he had planned to praise Bafta for its diversity.
Prince William had shared his ‘frustration’ at the lack of diversity at the white-dominated Baftas last year and announced a ‘full and thorough review’.
Bafta President Prince William (pictured, left, at last year’s ceremony) was ‘kept in dark’ about allegations facing actor and producer Noel Clark (right) and was due to praise the academy for its diversity before his speech was cancelled after the death of his grandfather last month
Clarke receives Outstanding British Contribution To Cinema Award from Bafta on April 10
But as the academy awarded Noel Clarke for his ‘outstanding British contribution’ to cinema, its president was set to praise Bafta, unaware that Clarke faced a string of sexual misconduct allegations, the Sunday Times reports.
Earlier this week, The Guardian published allegations of misconduct from 20 women who knew Clarke in a professional capacity.
Clarke has previously said he ‘vehemently’ denies allegations of sexual misconduct or criminal behaviour but said he will be seeking professional help and has apologised ‘deeply’ for his actions.
Senior figures at Bafta had been tipped off about Clarke’s alleged behaviour, but decided to go ahead with the April 10 ceremony in the absence of direct evidence from victims.
Bafta first learned of the allegations on March 29 when award-winning film director Sally El Hosaini, talent manager Pelumi Akindude and Bafta-winning actor James Krishna Floyd wrote a joint letter to the organisation’s chiefs.
According to the Guardian, the letter said they were ‘extremely concerned’ about its intention to give Clarke the award given the first-hand accounts they had heard.
Noel Clarke, who vehemently denies the allegations, pictured with his wife, former make-up artist Iris Da Silva, at the 70th EE British Academy Film Awards at Royal Albert Hall in 2017
But Prince William was not made aware of the allegations until last week, according to the Sunday Times.
Bafta declined to comment on its interactions with Kensington Palace when approached by the newspaper.
Since the allegations were made public, Bafta has suspended Clarke’s membership of the organisation and his outstanding British contribution to cinema award, which he was handed at the film academy’s awards.
On Friday evening, ITV pulled the concluding episode of drama Viewpoint, which starred the 45-year-old.
Broadcaster Sky, which has aired three series of Clarke’s series Bulletproof, has also said it is halting work with Clarke following the accusations.
Following the claims, the actor said in a statement: ‘I vehemently deny any sexual misconduct or criminal wrongdoing.
‘Recent reports however have made it clear to me that some of my actions have affected people in ways I did not intend or realise.
The Met Police said they have received a third party report of a sexual offence after actor and director Noel Clarke (pictured in 2008) was accused of bullying and groping by 20 women
‘To those individuals, I am deeply sorry. I will be seeking professional help to educate myself and change for the better.’
His comments came amid reports that Bafta spent two weeks deciding how best to respond to allegations against Clarke prior to presenting him with an award.
The film academy was made aware of the allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and verbal abuse shortly after it announced its intention to honour the director with an award for outstanding British contribution to cinema, according to The Guardian.
It added that senior figures within the film academy were worried about the potential reputational damage to the organisation over its handling of the claims against Clarke.
Bafta chair Krishnendu Majumdar was reportedly aware there could be as many as 12 women making allegations against Clarke on the eve of the awards ceremony.
He sought to speak to anyone with first-hand experience of Clarke’s alleged misconduct and told an industry figure he was ‘trying to do something about’ the situation as it could ‘destroy’ Bafta ‘in the court of public opinion’, the newspaper said.
Pictured: Clarke as DC Martin Young in Viewpoint, which is a British ITV five-part drama. He co-founded his own production company, Unstoppable Entertainment, in 2007
Noel Clarke pictured starring as Charlie and Laura Haddock as Nikki in the British science fiction-horror film ‘Storage 24’, which was released in 2012 and written by Clarke himself
Majumdar is said to have described the allegations as a ‘desperately difficult situation for us’ as Bafta ‘cannot act as judge and jury’.
He also hosted a Zoom call with figures including Bafta chief executive Amanda Berry to discuss how to respond to the allegations, The Guardian said.
Bafta has said it will not comment on the latest claims in The Guardian.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police said yesterday they have received a third party report of a sexual offence after the allegations against Noel Clarke came to light.
The force said: ‘On Wednesday 21 April police received a third party report relating to allegations of sexual offences committed by a male over a period of time. Officers are currently assessing the information.
‘We would urge anyone who believes they have been subjected to a sexual offence to report this to police so the information can be assessed and investigated accordingly. There are specially trained officers ready to provide advice and support.’
A third party report is when claims are made to an organisation separate from the police.
This type of report is anonymous and means the claims cannot be probed by officers but can be used as intelligence.
The police said there was no investigation underway at this time.