Netflix removes producer Charlie Hanson from Ricky Gervais’ After Life following sexual misconduct allegations

The producer - who was named by The Times – has refuted the claims thought to have been made by 11 women in an anonymous email

Charlie Hanson with Diana Chire and Aggy K. Adams at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival (Photo: Presley Ann/Getty Images)
Charlie Hanson with Diana Chire and Aggy K. Adams at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival (Photo: Presley Ann/Getty Images)

Netflix has dropped a Golden Globe-winning producer from one of its titles after receiving an email containing anonymous allegations of misconduct.

The streaming giant said it was made aware of historical allegations against Charlie Hanson, which pre-date the current Netflix project, on Monday 24 May and acted shortly after, reports The Times.

It is thought the email was co-written by as many as 11 different women, and amounted to more than 5,000 words in length; Bafta has also suspended the producer after being presented with what it described as “very serious detailed allegations”.

Charlie Hanson at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival (Photo: Presley Ann/Getty Images)

A spokesman for Netflix said: “On Monday, we received an anonymous email containing historical allegations about a producer on one of our titles. Whilst the allegations are unrelated to his time on the show, we immediately removed him from the production and referred the matter to the police.”

Bafta said it had also referred the matter to the police, as it is “an arts charity and does not have the power to investigate historic claims of abuse.”

Who is Charlie Hanson?

It’s been revealed that the producer at the centre of the allegations is Charlie Hanson, who has produced sitcoms such as Extras, Desmond’s and Birds of a Feather in a career of 40 years.

It’s believed he has been removed from his producer position on the latest series of Ricky Gervais’ After Life reports The Times, which has seen the damning document.

The story was first reported by trade magazine Broadcast, which said an email it received contained “very serious” allegations from a number of individuals.

A spokesperson for Bafta said the academy had been presented with “a number of very serious detailed allegations about an individual”.

“While we are not their employer we immediately took the decision to suspend their membership,” they said. “The behaviour that these accounts allege is abhorrent, in complete opposition to Bafta values and has no place in our industry.”

His alleged misconduct is said to have occurred between the years of 2008 and 2015, and includes allegations of “traumatising” non-consensual sex and sexual assaults.

"Charlie Hanson is a predator who uses his reputation, connections and standing in order to groom far younger, impressionable and sometimes vulnerable women into trusting him,” said the email.

"At times he will promise them a starry career under his wing, and then exploits that trust in creepy and illegal ways. He then tries to diminish the seriousness of what he’s done by telling these young women — us — that it wasn’t as bad as it seemed, that it was somehow blameless.

"He does his best to convince himself – and others – that this method of operating is fine. But we know it is not fine."

Hanson has previously been vocal in his support for the #MeToo movement, even going so far as to criticise Bafta for not doing more when it was first made aware of allegations of sexual misconduct made against actor and director, Noel Clarke.

What has the producer said?

The producer said he “strongly refutes” the accusations levelled at him in a statement.

Hanson said: “I have been made aware of allegations made against me concerning improper conduct towards women dating back many years.

“Based on the summaries that have been provided to me, I understand that many of these accusations are made anonymously and are demonstrably false. I have not had one complaint in decades of work in the media industry.

“I categorically reject any wrongdoing on my part, and strongly refute the allegations that have been levelled at me. I have worked with and supported hundreds of men and women during my working life and will do what is necessary to protect and/or restore my reputation.

“I will also cooperate with any formal inquiries. The matter is now in the hands of my solicitors.”

In a statement, Hanson’s solicitor said (via Daily Mail): “Our client is shocked and appalled by these historical and false allegations of improper conduct towards women.

“He maintains that he has never acted inappropriately on any production, or at all, and has never had any complaints made about his conduct over the course of many decades in the media industry.”

What did Ricky Gervais say?

Hanson’s long time collaborator Ricky Gervais said he was “shocked and appalled” to learn of the historical allegations made against Hanson in a statement.

The pair have previously worked together on two series of Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s BBC comedy Extras, as well as the pair’s film 2010 film, Cemetery Junction.

He was also behind Gervais and Merchant’s series Life’s Too Short and Derek, which starred Gervais.

"The decision was made to immediately remove him from production,” added Gervais, “and I am confident the matter is being handled thoroughly.”

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