The same day Timothy Hutton was accused of a 1983 rape, Fox canceled Almost Family, a drama led by the Oscar-winner, after its debut season. The show was likely on the bubble for ratings reasons regardless, but the timing is no accident.
On Monday, the far-left BuzzFeed published the account of Sera Johnston, who claims Hutton raped her in a Vancouver hotel room when she was 14.
According to Johnston, who is now 50, Hutton and a friend lured her to the room and basically gang raped her.
Hutton not only denies the allegation, he denies ever meeting her, and is accusing Johnston — and not without cause — of shaking him down for money.
There is no statute of limitations for rape in Canada, but rather than file charges, Johnston waited 36 years to demand $1.5 million. Through mediation, Hutton eventually agreed to $135,000 (his lawyer described it as a nuisance settlement). She agreed in principle, but when it came time to sign the papers she said she balked because the agreement allowed Hutton to deny the allegation.
Johnston then filed criminal charges against Hutton.
According to BuzzFeed — who angled its story to annihilate Hutton, someone who has never been publicly accused of any kind of wrongdoing — Johnston has five people who can verify she told them about the rape around the time it happened: her mother and stepfather, and three girlfriends.
Johnston’s lawyers claimed to have one witness, an actor, who is neither a friend or relative, who would confirm he saw Johnston in the hotel room with Hutton. In truth, that “witness” signed a sworn statement saying he never claimed to have seen any such thing.
BuzzFeed also says Hutton went to the FBI to report Johnston for extortion. Filing a false report with the FBI is a felony.
After the settlement collapsed, Hutton’s lawyers claim the “extortion” pressure from Johnston increased, something BuzzFeed was able to confirm (at the bottom of its lengthy piece).
Johnston’s former boyfriend began contacting the second man who allegedly raped Johnston, putting pressure on him to force a settlement. Emails, phone calls, none-too-vague threats about the coming “media storm.” Johnston admits she was on the phone calls.
Hutton’s lawyer, Tom Clare, released a statement Monday condemning BuzzFeed, accusing the left-wing site of ignoring mitigating evidence, and said he will demand a formal retraction.
“BuzzFeed, facing serious financial struggles and pressure to attract readers, has shamefully disregarded the facts and allowed itself to be used by Ms. Johnston,” Clare writes.
“Buzzfeed knew the truth before publication. For example, BuzzFeed knew that, in July 2019, Tim filed a criminal complaint with the FBI — long before Ms. Johnston made her own report to the police,” he continued. “Further, BuzzFeed recklessly disregarded multiple sworn declarations from neutral third parties that absolutely show Ms. Johnston’s allegations to be false.”
Clare went on to rip BuzzFeed with a demand for a retraction and threatened a defamation suit:
We will be sending BuzzFeed a legal retraction demand. If BuzzFeed wrongfully refuses to retract the article, Tim is prepared to take any and all necessary steps, including the filing of a defamation lawsuit, to clear his name and to hold BuzzFeed and Ms. Johnston accountable for their reckless and self-serving efforts to destroy Tim’s reputation and career.
One notable coincidence BuzzFeed glosses over is that Johnston claims her 1983 encounter with Hutton in the sprawling city of Vancouver was entirely by chance:
On that evening in 1983, Johnston, C.B., and the third friend were hanging out at the Granville Island complex in Vancouver, a collage of restaurants, stores, and venues popular with tourists and locals alike. They had planned a sleepover, and were excited to stay up late and eat pizza. Johnston had taken ballet and one of the girls was a gymnast, and outside the Pelican Bay restaurant, they showed off their skills, exaggeratedly pirouetting and tumbling.
As Johnston did a split, she said, she heard a loud rapping on the restaurant’s window. Three men were beckoning them to come inside. The men were in their twenties, but to Johnston, they looked older. She wondered whether they might be friends of her father, a jazz musician, and decided she should say hello in case she knew them.
One of those men was Hutton, who is 59 now and would have been around 23 at the time. He was in Vancouver shooting the movie Iceman.
Even though Johnston claims the two of them met purely by chance, BuzzFeed later reports — and does so by glossing over the coincidence as though it’s the most normal thing in the world — that Johnston’s mother was working as a set decorator on that same movie at the same time, and her stepfather was also working on Iceman as a stunt double.
What are the odds of that?
So if Johnston is inventing all of this, we now know how she knew Hutton was in Vancouver at the time.
So here we go again…
Timothy Hutton’s forty-year career, his reputation, his good name… Poof, gone — without ever getting a single day in court.
There is no proof Timothy Hutton did anything wrong, only the word of a woman who rode on the wave of #MeToo in the hopes of obtaining $1.5 million.
If the story is true, it’s harrowing and awful, but “if” is not how things are supposed to work in America.
We’re not required to agonize over “if,” because we have something called the presumption of innocence in this country.
You’re just not supposed to be able to fly out of nowhere and destroy a man’s life. But unfortunately we now live in a country where McCarthyism is trendy again, a country where a member of the “patriarchy” is required to prove his innocence, prove a 37-year-old negative. All that’s required of the alleged victim, though, is that she find a woke news outlet willing to destroy a man’s life with 37-year-old allegations that can never be proved or disproved.
Sure, the presumption of innocence is legally focused on the criminal justice system, but as Americans, it is something that should also be part of our shared social contract.
I don’t know anything about Timothy Hutton. I’m not a fan of his. I’m not critic of his. I don’t know how he votes. I haven’t followed his career. He’s just one of those guys who pops up in movies and TV shows now and again, just like hundreds of other working actors. I have no ax to grind one way or another. But the moment we surrender the presumption of innocence as a society, especially for political and trendy reasons, no one is safe.