NEW YORK (AP) — The sex harassment scandal roiling Hollywood jumped across the Atlantic Ocean, dove decades into the past and abruptly tanked an upcoming film release Friday when the BBC scrapped a TV series in the wake of rape allegations against actor Ed Westwick, actress Jenny McCarthy accused Steven Seagal of asking her to strip 22 years ago and Louis C.K’s new film was dumped a week before it was to open.
The decision to cancel the release of C.K.’s “I Love You, Daddy” came a day after the comedian was accused of sexual misconduct toward five women, including masturbating in front of them. The indie distributor The Orchard said it “will not be moving forward with the release.” C.K., who is of partial Jewish descent, has already been edited out of the upcoming HBO benefit “Night of Too Many Stars” and his work is being scrubbed from the cable network’s vaults.
Westwick also saw his work buried when the BBC pulled the Agatha Christie mystery thriller adaptation “Ordeal by Innocence” in which he appeared. The broadcaster also paused filming on the 1980s-set sitcom “White Gold,” which stars Westwick. The former “Gossip Girl” star has been accused of raping two women, charges he denies. On Instagram, he called the allegations “unverified and provably untrue.”
Actor Jeremy Piven also took to social media to once again declare his innocence of sexual misconduct, saying on Twitter he hopes the string of sexual harassment allegations will lead to “a constructive dialogue on these issues” but warned about “false accusations.”
“We seem to be entering dark times — allegations are being printed as facts and lives are being put in jeopardy without a hearing, due process or evidence. I hope we can give people the benefit of the doubt before we rush to judgment,” he wrote.
Piven, who has been accused by two women of sexual misconduct and faces a fresh accusation made against him from an advertising executive. Tiffany Bacon Scourby told People magazine that Piven held her down while he performed a sex act at a hotel 14 years ago.
McCarthy also reiterated an allegation she made against Seagal, saying she fled from a 1995 audition with Seagal after he repeatedly asked her to take off her clothes for a part that didn’t require nudity.
The former Playboy model recounted her encounter with Seagal during a tryout for “Under Siege 2” on her Sirius XM radio show Thursday, a day after actress Portia de Rossi accused Seagal of unzipping his pants during an audition.
McCarthy said Seagal was the only person in the room when she showed up to read for her part, she said. After declining his invitation to sit next to him on a couch, McCarthy, who said she purposefully wore a loose-fitting garment to the audition so the focus would be on her acting instead of her body, said Seagal asked her to remove her clothes. When McCarthy countered that she was told the part didn’t require her to be naked, she said Seagal told her that it involved “off-camera nudity.”
“I know you must have a beautiful body underneath there. Can you lower it so I can see your breasts,” she recalled Seagal saying.
A representative for Seagal didn’t immediately return a request for comment Friday, but a Seagal spokesman has denied McCarthy’s accusations to The Daily Beast. McCarthy told the same story to Movieline in 1998.
The flood of accusations began after an October report in the New York Times alleging that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein had sexually harassed or assaulted several women. He has since been accused by dozens of women, and is being investigated for rape by police departments in New York, Los Angeles and London. Others who face sexual harassment or assault accusations include “House of Cards” star Kevin Spacey and filmmaker Brett Ratner.