entertainment

John Barrowman addresses reports he repeatedly exposed himself on Torchwood set

"Barrowman was there taking his d*ck out every five seconds," actor Noel Clarke said in a recently-resurfaced panel discussion video

2021-05-07

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: ITV

John Barrowman has admitted to workplace "tomfoolery" of a non-sexual nature following reports he repeatedly exposed his genitals on the set of Torchwood.

According to an investigation by The Guardian, Barrowman - who played Captain Jack Harkness on Torchwood from 2006 to 2011 - also exposed himself to colleagues on the set of Doctor Who.

The outlet cites 'several' witnesses, who called the incidents "larking about" and "joking" rather than 'anything amounting to sexually predatory behaviour'.

"Tomfoolery"

When contacted by the Guardian, Barrowman admitted to “tomfoolery”. The report states that he now understands that he upset colleagues, 'but stressed it was never intended or interpreted as sexual in nature.'

In a recently-resurfaced panel discussion video, Barrowman's old Doctor Who co-star Noel Clarke is heard saying: "Barrowman was there taking his d*ck out every five seconds."

One of Barrowman's former colleagues Monica (not her real name) told The Guardian: "Sometimes he’d call me into his dressing room, and I would knock on the door and he’d say, ‘Oh, look at this’, and he’d just have his willy out, standing in the doorway. It was kind of accepted that it was his thing."

She emphasised that she didn't feel unsafe, but said: "It just felt really uncomfortable."

Lawyers for Barrowman, who is gay, said he did not recall the incident.

The new report follows the Guardian publishing allegations by 20 women of verbal abuse, bullying and sexual harassment against Noel Clarke, which he denies.

Barrowman, who stressed he was not aware of the allegations against Clarke, said his own actions were "high-spirited behaviour [...] only ever intended in good humour to entertain colleagues on set and backstage."

 
 
 
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Doctor Who executive producer Julie Gardner confirmed to the newspaper that she received a complaint about Barrowman's conduct in 2008.

“I met with John and reprimanded him," she said, adding she made it "clear to both John and his agent that behaviour of this kind would not be tolerated… To my knowledge, John’s inappropriate behaviour stopped thereafter."

In 2008, Barrowman apologised for pulling down his trousers during a BBC Radio 1 interview, saying: “I apologise for any offence I have caused. I was joining in the light-hearted and fun banter of the show, and went too far.”

In his new statement to The Guardian, Barrowman added: “With the benefit of hindsight, I understand that upset may have been caused by my exuberant behaviour and I have apologised for this previously. Since my apology in November 2008, my understanding and behaviour have also changed.”

When contacted for comment, a BBC spokesperson issued the same statement as issued to The Guardian, saying: “The BBC is against all forms of inappropriate behaviour and we’re shocked to hear of these allegations. To be absolutely clear, we will investigate any specific allegations made by individuals to the BBC - and if anyone has been subjected to or witnessed inappropriate behaviour of any kind we would encourage them to raise it with us directly.

“We have a zero-tolerance approach and robust processes are in place - which are regularly reviewed and updated to reflect best practice - to ensure any complaints or concerns are handled with the utmost seriousness and care.”

In response to the aforementioned allegations against him, Clarke said last month: “I vehemently deny any sexual misconduct or criminal wrongdoing. Recent reports however have made it clear to me that some of my actions have affected people in ways I did not intend or realise. To those individuals, I am deeply sorry. I will be seeking professional help to educate myself and change for the better.”

Attitude has approached a rep for Barrowman and a lawyer Clarke for comment.

Read the Attitude Sex & Sexuality issue, out now.

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