- The Times has apologised after making false and defamatory claims in articles regarding the Bafta Chair Krishnendu Majumdar and Bafta’s decision to present Noel Clarke with an OBCC award.
- The Mail Online has also issued an apology
- Both publications accept there are no “close links” between Bafta Chair and Clarke.
- Decision to allow Clarke to receive a previously announced award was determined by the lack of evidence Bafta had at the time of having to make its decision on whether to proceed with the presentation.
Today, The Times and the Mail Online have issued apologies to BAFTA and its Chair, Krishnendu Majumdar.
The Times’s article, "Bafta boss Krishnendu Majumdar worked with scandal star Noel Clarke on diversity" (3 May) falsely claimed that the BAFTA Chair had “close links” with Clarke. It also implied that because both the Chair and Clarke are men of colour, this also influenced the decision to present Clarke with the OBCC award. Both claims were baseless.
The Mail Online copied The Times’s story, albeit focusing on the “close links” claim.
BAFTA made a legal complaint to both publications in defamation given there were no “close links” between the Chair and Noel Clarke. Outside of BAFTA, the Chair has never met or worked with Clarke. They are not friends or business associates. As against The Times, it also complained about the racist element in the story.
Both The Times and the Mail Online have accepted that there are no close links between the BAFTA Chair and Clarke, that BAFTA’s response to the allegations was led by a group of individuals, including members of the BAFTA board, who were collectively handling BAFTA’s response to the issue and that the decision to allow Clarke to be presented with the award was determined by the lack of evidence BAFTA had at the time of having to make a decision on whether to proceed with the presentation.
Today both publications have published apologies. The Times’s apology is also in the hard copy paper and the tablet editions. The Times has agreed to pay damages and costs and the Mail Online is expected to follow suit.
It is important to BAFTA that these defamatory and untrue articles have been removed and apologies published as they were very seriously damaging, undermining the very good work BAFTA has done as an arts charity on diversity and inclusion, as well as the proper manner in which it conducted itself in respect of the Clarke matter.
An apology from The Times [LINK]
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 apologise to Mr Majumdar and Bafta for the distress.
An apology from Mail Online [LINK]
An article on 3 May reported claims in The Times that Bafta chairman Krishnendu Majumdar had close links to Noel Clarke, the actor facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct. We now accept that the reference to close links was incorrect. Bafta say their decision to allow Clarke to receive a previously announced award was taken by a group and determined by the lack of evidence it had at the time. We are happy to make this clear and apologise to Bafta and Mr Majumdar.