John Barrowman admits to “tomfoolery” but denies sexual harassment

Torchwood star describes actions as "bawdy behaviour, silly behaviour" but Time's Up UK refutes his claims.

UK actor John Barrowman, who starred as Captain Jack Harkness in Torchwood and Doctor Who, has admitted to exposing himself on set, describing it as “tomfoolery” but denied it was ever intended or interpreted as sexual in nature.

Appearing on talk show Lorraine, Barrowman admitted he was feeling “extremely nervous” about addressing stories of 15 years ago.

“I think that if it was now it would be crossing the line. I think that something that happened 15 years ago – it was bawdy behaviour, silly behaviour,” he said.

“It was being done in the confines of the set and we were like a family working together. The fact that it was stories that I’ve already told, I’ve been telling them for years. I haven’t hidden anything.

“They have been exaggerated and they have tried to turn them into sexual harassment, which it absolutely is not.

“The one thing that for me, all the people that are making the fuss about it, they weren’t there. They don’t know the context of things that were done. Like I said, I would never do it now.

“But what we’re not allowing people and myself to do with the continued bashing in the press and everything that is going on just to sell the newspapers, we’re not allowing people to learn to adapt and to change – and that’s the most important thing.”

But lobby group Time’s Up UK disagreed with his assessment.

“The assertion by John Barrowman that his well-documented actions do not constitute sexual harassment reveals yet again the need for the entertainment industry to underline and reassert expected standards of behaviour of which this is wholly unacceptable,” a spokesperson said. “Flashing people IS sexual harassment and it is never funny.”

In 2008, during an appearance on talk show Loose Women, Barrowman apologised for exposing himself during an interview on a BBC Radio 1 broadcast.

A 2018 article in Playbill written by a one-time co-star of Barrowman’s claimed that during one scene in the original Broadway production of “Sunset Boulevard” Barrowman exposed himself on stage and used his penis to play the piano. Although due to his blocking on stage, this went unseen by the audience, cast members could see what was happening and, according to the article, Andrew Lloyd-Webber “immediately wrote him a letter asking that John not upstage the score with his appendage.”

Earlier this year, a video clip went viral of Barrowman’s Doctor Who castmates Noel Clarke and Camille Coduri discussing the actor during a panel. In the clip, Clarke says, “And Barrowman’s there taking his d*** out every five seconds. Every five seconds just hitting it on everything.”

Source: The Scotsman, Variety

2 Responses

  1. Complex questions raised by his behaviour. I do believe in second chances especially as it seems there was no one who was offended or complained at the time and the allegations of his actions being abuse is retrospective.

    Whipping out his penis as a source of humour is inappropriate and sexualised behaviour but I am not sure it is harassment if the actions were not directed against someone with a sexual intent behind it. Unfortunately Barrowmen seems to have thought his penis was the funniest thing in the world but has learned about possible harm from his actions so I feel he should not be totally ostracised or cancelled for life.

    I wish him well career wise whilst also supporting the fact that he has learned a very hard lesson.

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