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BAFTA Suspends Special Prizes After Recipient Is Accused Of ‘Sexual Assault’

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has suspended special individual prizes amid backlash over sexual assault claims against Noel Clarke, the most recent recipient.

The TV category of the annual awards, which celebrates technical achievements in television, holds on June 6.

Clarke snagged the ‘Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema’ prize in April at the film category of the awards.

The development sparked heated outrage at the time as many called out the institution for selecting Clarke despite being aware of the allegations against him.

According to the Guardian UK, BAFTA received details of the sexual assault claims against the actor 12 days before he was named a recipient of its award.

Amid the ensuing controversy, the awarding body said it has temporarily paused special awards — for the first time — ahead of Sunday’s ceremony.

“We have recently announced that we are conducting a review of the processes governing awards that are in the gift of the academy, so we have temporarily paused the special awards and fellowships and they will not feature in this Sunday’s ceremony,” BBC quoted BAFTA’s spokeswoman as saying on Tuesday.

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Clarke has vehemently dismissed the allegations levelled against him but apologised if he has offended anyone with his behaviour in the past.

BAFTA had earlier defended itself against the criticisms, noting that the emails it received “were either anonymous or second or third-hand accounts via intermediaries”.

“No first-hand allegations were sent to us. No names, times, dates, productions or other details were ever provided,” it said.

“Had the victims gone on record as they have with the Guardian, the award would have been suspended immediately. Noel Clarke’s counsel received a legal notice to this effect. It was always very clear what our intentions would be.”

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