Matthew Newton has stepped down from directing Jessica Chastain’s new movie Eve in response to the online backlash regarding his alleged history of assault.
The 41-year-old Australian actor and writer released a statement on Friday saying he wishes to do the right thing and take responsibility for his problems.
‘Yesterday I notified Jessica Chastain and the other producers on the film Eve that I will be stepping down as director’ he said.
‘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.
‘I have failed in the past’: Matthew Newton has stepped down from directing Jessica Chastain’s new movie Eve in light of the online backlash about his alleged history of assault
‘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.’
Newton, who suffers from bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, goes on to explain that he’s been seeking treatment for his issues.
‘Over the past eight years, I have been working extensively with healthcare professionals to help me overcome my addiction and mental health illness,’ he continued.
‘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 was criticized this week for selecting Newton – who has been accused of assaulting two of his ex-girlfriends – to write and direct her new film.
The 41-year-old, who is an advocate for the Time’s Up movement and women’s rights, faced an online backlash, with fans claiming that ‘it’s especially concerning’.
Backlash: Chastain was criticized this week for selecting Newton – who has been accused of assaulting two of his ex-girlfriends – to write and direct her new film
Newton has a long history of alleged assault and domestic violence claims in his home country of Australia, dating back to 2006.
Following the news of Newton’s appointed role, Chastain was blasted by critics on social media.
‘Jessica Chastain, what are you doing? Your new director Matthew Newton has a history of domestic and other violence,’ one wrote on Twitter.
Another followed with: ‘Hey Jessica, I say this as a huge fan of your work: the Matthew Newton stuff has been especially concerning. We’d really appreciate more insight into why you’d choose to work with him’.
Backlash: Jessica has been criticized online, with one posting to Twitter: ‘Jessica Chastain should know better than to support an abusive man’
Another followed suit with: ‘Jessica Chastain, what are you doing? Your new director Matthew Newton has a history of domestic and other violence’
Baffled: One fan was confused as to why Jessica would choose to work with Newton considering his history of alleged assault and domestic violence claims
New project: Chastain, 41, is an advocate for the Time’s Up movement and women’s rights
One also shared: ‘Matthew Newton has been convicted of assaulting multiple ex-girlfriends. Domestic violence is inexcusable. Jessica Chastain should know better than to support an abusive man like this’.
Last Saturday, it was announced that Chastain had signed on to produce and star in action thriller Eve, and had selected Newton, 41, to write and direct, as part of her own production company, Freckle Films.
Jessica and her business partner Kelly Carmichael said in an official statement: ‘Matthew is wonderfully adept at crafting complex and relatable characters. We’ve been fans of his work and are so thrilled to be partnering with him and Voltage on Eve’.
Newton also shared his enthusiasm on the project in an official statement that read: ‘I have always admired Jessica Chastain’s work. So when I wrote Eve, an intelligent, strong, and incredibly capable character, she was my immediate first choice to bring her to life. I am humbled and thrilled to be collaborating with Jessica and Voltage’.
History: Newton, 41, has a long history of alleged assault and domestic violence claims (pictured in a 2012 mugshot after a Miami hotel brawl)
Jessica’s decision to select Newton has been labelled as hypocritical by some, with the Molly’s Game actress having long been a prominent advocate for the Time’s Up movement and women’s rights.
The Time’s Up movement aims to support women who bring forward complaints of sexual harassment and abuse, and has been actively supported by Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman and Kerry Washington to name a few.
Having arrived in black to the Golden Globe Awards on January, in an act of solidarity, Jessica Tweeted at the time: ‘I wear black to stand in solidarity with my sisters and to say it’s #TimesUp on this imbalance of power in ALL industries [sic]’.
Jessica also arrived in a T-shirt with the text ‘Time’s Up’ for her appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Live Show in January.
‘I’ve always made choices, in all the work that I’ve done, to make sure that on any film set that I’m working with people that there isn’t a question about whether or not abuse has taken place,’ she told The Feed in February. ‘It’s very important to me that I practice what I preach, and that my actions follow my words.’
Newton, who lives with fiancée Catherine Schneiderman in New York’s Upper West Side, was arrested for the alleged physical assault of his former partner Brooke Satchwell in 2006.
Arrest: Newton was arrested for the alleged physical assault of his former partner Brooke Satchwell (pictured) in 2006. The couple are pictured in November 2003
The son of Australian entertainment veteran Bert Newton, Newton pleaded guilty to ‘common assault’ after prosecutors withdrew three more serious charges, including assault occasioning actual bodily harm and stalking and intimidating Brooke. The conviction was later overturned by a court.
In 2010, Newton’s then-girlfriend Rachael Taylor filed a protective order against him, alleging physical, verbal and emotional abuse, and he entered Sydney’s Northside West Clinic for treatment.
Newton was also arrested twice in Miami, Florida, in 2012 – the first for trespassing and resisting officers, while a second incident saw him charged with battery and resisting arrest after he attacked a hotel receptionist.
Following the charges, Newton checked into the Betty Ford Center in California for 90 days of alcohol and drug treatment. Both matters were later dismissed under the conditions that Matthew completes community service and writes a letter of apology to the hotel clerk.
AVO: In 2010, Newton’s then-girlfriend Rachael Taylor (pictured) filed an AVO against him, alleging physical, verbal and emotional abuse. The couple are pictured in September 2009