The deputy chairwoman of Bafta has defended the film academy’s response to allegations of misconduct against Noel Clarke.
The actor was handed an award for outstanding British contribution to cinema shortly before The Guardian newspaper published the claims about Clarke made by women who knew him 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.
Dame Pippa Harris, Bafta deputy chairwoman, told Sky News the film academy was not in possession of “one fraction” of the detail The Guardian had about the allegations against Clarke.
Bafta previously said in a letter to its membership it was not aware of the allegations relating to Clarke before announcing he would be given the award and it was in the following days they received anonymous emails about the claims from second or third-hand sources.
Dame Pippa added: “If we had had one fraction of the information that the Guardian had, we would never have given an award to Noel Clarke, that’s obvious.
“But we didn’t have that information.
“The first time we saw the actual allegations against him was when they were published by The Guardian newspaper and as soon as we saw the allegations we suspended the award.”
She added that “this whole affair has been extremely difficult, as you can imagine, for everyone involved”.
Dame Pippa also said Bafta chairman Krishnendu Majumdar “worked all the way through” the decision-making process with the board of the film academy.
She added: “Krish has not been doing anything on his own, so any criticism that can be levelled at Bafta should be levelled at everybody.
“It is really, I think, not right to single people out.
“Everything that Krish did, he did with the full endorsement and knowledge of the board.”
In a statement to the PA news agency last week, Clarke said: “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.
“To those individuals, I am deeply sorry.
“I will be seeking professional help to educate myself and change for the better.”