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BAFTA chief warned bosses could ‘ruin an innocent man’s career’ if they suspended Noel Clarke

‘We cannot act as judge and jury on this’: BAFTA chief warned bosses could ‘ruin an innocent man’s career’ if they suspended Noel Clarke over sexual abuse allegations without evidence

  • Bafta chairman feared giving Clarke award could ‘destroy’ the organisation
  • Senior figures were tipped off to Clarke’s alleged behaviour but went ahead with April 10 ceremony
  • Bafta first learned of allegations against Noel Clarke on March 29

The chairman of Bafta feared that giving an award to Noel Clarke could ‘destroy’ the organisation, it emerged yesterday.

Senior figures 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.

The chairman of Bafta feared that giving an award to Noel Clarke could ‘destroy’ the organisation, it emerged yesterday

While Bafta chairman Krishnendu Majumdar acknowledged that the issues raised were ‘extremely serious’, he said it was a ‘difficult situation’ to deal with without detailed evidence – adding: ‘We cannot act as judge and jury on this.’

Bafta’s lawyers advised the board that the scant information it had received so far did not warrant suspending the award. They also reportedly questioned whether the organisation, which is a charity, had a legal duty to investigate such matters.

By the evening of April 9, less than 24 hours before Clarke was due to he honoured, Bafta’s leaders were in turmoil.

Mr Majumdar called Ms El Hosaini at 9.30pm and repeated an earlier request to speak directly to alleged victims.

He said he had heard there could be as many as 12 women making allegations against Clarke, but he needed to hear it for himself before pulling the award.

‘We could be ruining an innocent man’s career,’ he warned.

Mr Majumdar called Mr Krishna Floyd at 10pm the same evening and said: ‘People will say, “Bafta knew [about the allegations], and didn’t do anything about it.”

‘We’ve been trying to do something about it. In the court of public opinion we are going to be . . . this will destroy us.’

Senior figures 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

Senior figures 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

Last night, a senior Bafta member told The Mail on Sunday how the academy spent two weeks wrestling with how to respond to the allegations.

‘If you don’t go ahead and it’s all planned, you are assuming the person is guilty,’ they said.

‘I don’t know what you do in those circumstances. It’s a very difficult thing.’

Bafta did not suspend Clarke’s award until last Thursday at 8pm, after The Guardian revealed 20 women had accused him of sexual harassment, groping, misconduct and bullying.

The actor categorically denied virtually all the allegations.

While Bafta chairman Krishnendu Majumdar acknowledged that the issues raised were ‘extremely serious’, he said it was a ‘difficult situation’ to deal with without detailed evidence – adding: ‘We cannot act as judge and jury on this’

While Bafta chairman Krishnendu Majumdar acknowledged that the issues raised were ‘extremely serious’, he said it was a ‘difficult situation’ to deal with without detailed evidence – adding: ‘We cannot act as judge and jury on this’

In a statement, Bafta claimed it had acted ‘as quickly and supportively as we could’, adding: ‘No first-hand allegations were sent to us.

‘No names, times, dates, productions or other details were ever provided. Had the victims gone on record as they have with The Guardian, the award would have been suspended immediately.’

Bafta bosses are reportedly now considering introducing vetting checks for nominees of its highest honours.

A spokeswoman said the organisation was ‘reviewing’ procedures, but added it was too soon to say what that might look like.

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