For the first time in its 50 year history, the BAFTA 2021 TV Awards has decided to “temporarily pause” Fellowships and Special Awards ahead of Sunday’s ceremony.
This comes after BAFTA faced backlash for awarding Noel Clarke the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema award in April, despite reportedly knowing that sexual misconduct and harassment allegations had been made against the actor.
The Fellowships and Special Awards, last awarded to presenter Joan Bakewell in 2019, are usually viewed as a “Lifetime Achievement” and given to individuals as a “gift of the Academy” rather than voted for by an industry panel.
However, the award has reportedly been pulled from Sunday’s ceremony to avoid unknowingly recognising another performer on the verge of a public scandal, The Mirror reports.
Days earlier, Bafta explained to its members that they were “reviewing” its selection process for the highly coveted solo awards.
According to the Mirror, a message sent to members read: “We wanted to let you know that while we review the processes behind selecting the awards that are ‘in the gift of the Academy’- the Special Awards and Fellowships – we have temporarily paused these kinds of awards and they will not feature in Sunday’s ceremony.”
One previous time a TV fellowship was cancelled when Rolf Harris’ 2012 award was reversed in 2014 following his convictions of 12 counts of indecent assault.
Meanwhile, Bafta’s decision to pause TV fellowships comes after Noel’s award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema Award was suspended after 19 days.
A BAFTA spokesman said at the time: “In light of the allegations of serious misconduct regarding Noel Clarke in The Guardian this evening, BAFTA has taken the decision to suspend his membership and the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema award immediately and until further notice.”
Clarke later said in a statement that he “vehemently” denies “any sexual misconduct or wrongdoing” following claims made by 20 women in The Guardian.
The actor denied all but one of the allegations made by the women when they were put to him by the publication via his lawyers.
The Guardian reported Clarke accepted he once made inappropriate comments about one woman, for which he later apologised. He denied the rest of her complaints.
In a statement issued via his spokesperson Clarke said: “In a 20-year career, I have put inclusivity and diversity at the forefront of my work and never had a complaint made against me.
“If anyone who has worked with me has ever felt uncomfortable or disrespected, I sincerely apologise.
“I vehemently deny any sexual misconduct or wrongdoing and intend to defend myself against these false allegations.”
The actor starred, wrote and directed the films Kidulthood, Adulthood and Brotherhood, where he played the role of Sam.