Ricky Gervais is 'appalled' as After Life producer Charlie Hanson is accused of 'sexual abuse' & preying on young womenMay 29, 2021
RICKY Gervais says he is "appalled to learn" that the producer of his show After Life has been accused of sex abuse.
Charlie Hanson, 68, who has enjoyed a successful 40-year career in television, is alleged to have preyed on 11 different women, claims he strongly denies.
Gervais, who also worked with Hanson on sitcoms Derek and Extras, said the producer has been removed from the production of his hit Netflix series.
In a statement, he said: "I am shocked and appalled to learn of the historical allegations made by a number of women against Charlie Hanson.
"The decision was made to immediately remove him from production and I am confident the matter is being handled thoroughly."
The award-winning producer has had his Bafta membership revoked following the claims.
Last month, Hanson was a vocal critic of Bafta following their handling of the sexual misconduct claims made against filmmaker and actor Noel Clarke.
Hanson is now the subject of complaints from 11 women – which include claims of serious sexual assault – dating from 2008 and 2015, The Times reports.
The women have written to Bafta – of which Hanson was a member – and Netflix, outlining the allegations.
It is claimed the TV producer preyed on the women when they were young “promising them a starry career under his wing” before making unwanted sexual advances.
Hanson has denied all the allegations and said he would fully co-operate with an investigation.
Among the alleged victims is one woman who says she met Hanson in 2008 to discuss a script and had non-consensual sex with him – an alleged incident which left her "traumatised."
Another claims the showrunner "acted as a mentor" introducing her to industry contacts, before sexually assaulting her at her home in 2015 when she was too drunk to consent.
Accusers say that they initially saw Hanson as an "uncle" figure, but realised he was was “grooming” them for sexual exploitation.
In response, Mr Hanson said in a statement: "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 the 5,000 word email, the woman alleged: "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.
"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."
In a statement, Bafta said: “Bafta is an arts charity and does not have the power to investigate historical claims of abuse therefore we have referred the matter to the police.
"The behaviour that these accounts allege is abhorrent, in complete opposition to Bafta values and has no place in our industry.”
A spokesperson from Netflix said: “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.”
After Life, which Netflix launched in 2019, follows Gervais' character Tony after his wife has died of breast cancer.
The comedy series, which Gervais also writes and directs, has received positive reviews from critics and has been renewed for a third season.
HOW YOU CAN GET HELP
Women's Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
- Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
- If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service available. from 10am to noon.
You can also call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116123.
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