Matthew Newton announced Friday that he would not be involved in actress Jessica Chastain’s film Eve amid resurfaced allegations of assault and domestic abuse.
Newton, who signed on as a director and writer for Eve, reveals he told Chastain and other producers tied to the film on Thursday that he would be leaving the project.
“Since the announcement of this film, the responses, which are powerful and important, have not fallen on deaf ears. I am profoundly aware that I have a responsibility to lead where I have failed in the past,” Newton said in a statement.
“I can never undo the harm that I’ve caused the people I’ve cared about and I carry that shame and responsibility with me every day. Over the past eight years I have been working extensively with healthcare professionals to help me overcome my addiction and mental health illness,” he added. “For the past six years I have lived a quiet and sober life. All I can do now is try to be a living amends and hopefully contribute to the positive change occurring in our industry.”
Chastain, who is slated to star in the action movie, is also a prominent anti-sexual harassment activist and Time’s Up movement organizer, and recently came under fire for bringing Newton onboard. A Care2-sponsored petition with 7,765 signatures date called on Newton to be removed as a director and writer.
“The Australian director has a history of violent abuse against multiple women. In 2007, Newton pleaded guilty to physically assaulting then-girlfriend, actor Brooke Satchwell,” the petition reads. “Despite all of this, Jessica Chastain wants to give Matthew Newton a pass? We don’t think so. #TimesUp for rich and powerful men being absolved of horrific abuse against women.”
Matthew Newton was also been accused in 2010 of “two unprovoked assaults,” by then-fiancee Rachael Taylor, who was given a two-year domestic violence order against the director. In 2011, the director was arrested for physically assaulting a 66-year-old taxi driver – the charges were later thrown out.