John Barrowman, former judge on Dancing on Ice (pic: ITV)
The #MeToo movement has changed the face of many if not all industries, with negative experiences in the workplace coming under intense scrutiny. Add to this the current ‘culture wars’ and you have toxic environments being exposed left right and centre.
Earlier this year, the bombshell story of actor/director Noel Clarke’s alleged sexual abuse and bullying people that worked for him hit the press and suddenly the reputation of someone who was once a darling of the British theatre and movie industries was suddenly in tatters.
Standards have changed
Soon after, as is always the case with stories like this, other colleagues are always caught in the crossfire. Basically a video emerged of Clarke on stage at a press event jovially discussing how actor and presenter John Barrowman frequently exposed himself for the ‘amusement’ of people around him on set.
John Barrowman and Noel Clarke worked together on Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood which was a hit for the BBC starring Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness before coming to an end.
Noel Clarke on the red carpet in happier times (Instagram)
The video is cringeworthy viewing to say the least, even more so due to who is telling the story in light of what he has now been accused of. Rumour has it that Mr Barrowman is rather well endowed and gives off what some might call ‘big dick energy’. Who among us doesn’t have someone in their friend group that has a giant member and loves showing it off?
The problem here is of course that you can’t really do that with unsuspecting co-workers. It is clear that the fact Barrowman is gay is a huge aspect in this story. If this had been a straight man, the repercussions would have been far more severe and would no doubt have ended his career.
Due to his sexuality, it is assumed that the women involved didn’t feel threatened but does it make it ok? Despite the fact that Barrowman described as all being in good fun, it’s still indecent exposure. Banging your large cock on someone’s shoulder while they are getting their make-up done might seem funny at the time but not really in this post #MeToo world. Getting over excited and whacking your dick out in a work environment is unacceptable whatever sexuality you are.
DOI logo courtesy of ITV
Where the culture wars fits in here is that there are those that would dismiss it as ‘just a bit of fun’ and ‘you can’t do anything these days’. Well when it comes to smacking someone’s bum when they walk past, grabbing someone’s boobs or groin, no it’s not in good fun. As gay men we have all no doubt been guilty in the past of grabbing a boob or too but is that acceptable? Do you need to ask first?
Culture wars strike back
Since the scandal he has now been removed as a judge from ITV’s Dancing on Ice as it is seen as a ‘family show’ and as a judge you sort of have to be step above everyone else. Barrowman himself released a statement saying it was all just ‘tomfoolery’ and ‘only ever intended in good humour to entertain colleagues on set and backstage. With the benefit of hindsight, I understand that upset may have been caused by my exuberant behaviour and I have apologised for this previously.’
Barrowman had already apologised back in 2008 after exposing himself in an interview with BBC Radio 1, reiterating this in the recent statement, he said: ‘Since my apology in November 2008, my understanding and behaviour have also changed.’
Despite all of this, the franchise where Barrowman and Clarke met has made a decision to remove a pre-recorded video Barrowman had filmed that was due to be shown as part of the forthcoming immersive Doctor Who: Time Fracture experience which is due to begin in London.
Actor Omari Douglas is a shoo in to take over the TARDIS
Obviously Doctor Who is a family show while Barrowman might be out, Russell T Davis who was behind the original successful reboot is now back in the saddle and he’s supposedly going to be breaking new barrier again (after Jodie Whittaker became the first female Doctor Who. A little while ago, rumours were swirling about that and Years & Years star Olly Alexander was being touted to play the new Doctor Who. Well, now it seems his fellow It’s A Sin cast mate Omari Douglas is now the front runner.
Doctor Who goes (more) gay
Omari played Roscoe Babatunde with a cheeky grin and the sincerity that are perfect for Doctor Who. A source close to the BBC said: ‘Omari is the perfect candidate on so many levels, including the fact that the BBC said they’d prefer the Doctor to be played by a non-white actor. He has also struck up the kind of close working relationship with Russell that helped Christopher [Ecclestone] and David [Tennant] get the sought after role. Although he’s not quite a household name yet, he’s proved he’s a great actor with a memorable performance in It’s a Sin.’
Having a queer man of colour as the 14th Doctor, one of the top roles in science fiction prime time TV, would be a huge deal. Let’s just hope everyone on set manages to keep their bits inside their undies!