Hijack director Jim Field Smith has warned of a major Hollywood actor being protected despite concerns over their behaviour behind the scenes.
The British filmmaker has taken to social media after Get Him To The Greek actor Russell Brand was accused of rape, sexual assault and physical abuse, in a Channel 4 special episode of Dispatches airing in a joint investigation with The Times.
Brand, who denied the ‘very serious allegations’ in a video shared on Friday night, has been accused by multiple women, including one who claimed she was 16 years old at the time.
Now, the creator and director of Apple TV+ series Hijack has claimed an actor – who he only refers to as ‘Actor X’ – is being protected by powerful people.
Jim noted he turned down the chance to work with the unnamed star in the past after hearing the unsettling claims.
In a series of posts on X (formerly Twitter), the director wrote: ‘I was once dissuaded from hiring Actor X because other actors I was meeting for other roles had heard X might be attached to the project and had said unequivocally they would not work on the project in those circumstances.
‘There were no criminal allegations against X, but rather a pattern of behaviour that several people had either noticed or been personally subjected to.
‘When I asked these people why this wasn’t common knowledge, they said that speaking up didn’t seem to make a difference.
‘This was really troubling. After not much deliberation, the casting director and I decided not only to cease negotiations with X, but also more importantly to be very open and honest about why we were doing so.’
Jim has claimed he then then received ‘fury and thinly-veiled threats’ from the unnamed star’s powerful agency’, describing them as ‘eye-watering, but not unexpected’.
He continued: ‘I was then contacted directly by X. Calmly and – it must be said, somewhat convincingly – they wanted to reassure me that anything I might have heard about them was just gossip. But nonetheless they were keen to know who my “sources” were.
‘When I refused to disclose them, X started listing several possible suspects – none of whom, tellingly, were the original sources, thus convincing me we had made the right decision.
‘But of course several years later X is still working, in front of and behind camera. Those that had expressed their concerns originally were all right about one thing for sure – speaking up didn’t seem to make a difference.’
Jim noted he was motivated to share the story after the allegations were made public against Russell Brand, and insisted other people need to ‘speak up’ rather than the alleged victims themselves.
He wrote: ‘The Russell Brand case has brought this all up for me again. If someone in a position of relative power, such as me, can’t really make a dent on a situation like that, then what hope do victims have?
‘Are we really surprised that people don’t speak up, when at best it has no effect and at worst it can destroy their own lives further?
‘The onus is not on victims to press charges. There is also not, as Russell Brand seems to think, a statute of limitations on s***ty behaviour. We should of course hear and enable the victims’ voices. But it’s not them that should be forced to speak up. It’s us.’
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