Director Matthew Newton Exits Jessica Chastain Film After Fans Call Out Past Abuse Accusations

“I am profoundly aware that I have a responsibility to lead where I have failed in the past,” Newton says

Last Updated: August 10, 2018 @ 10:02 AM

Matthew Newton has announced that he will step down as director of Jessica Chastain’s new film, “Eve,” after fans called out past domestic abuse accusations against him.

“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 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 said in a statement Friday morning.

“Over the past eight years I have been working extensively with healthcare professionals to help me overcome my addiction and mental health illness. 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,” he continued.

In 2007, Newton pleaded guilty to assaulting his ex, Brooke Satchwell, but his conviction was overturned after a psychiatrist said that the filmmaker suffered from depression and was unlikely to reoffend. But over the next five years, Newton was accused of more assaults, including against another girlfriend, Rachael Taylor.

Chastain and Newton were announced as the star and director of the upcoming film last week, with Newton directing from a script he wrote. But the decision to hire Newton was quickly met with backlash, with Chastain being included in the criticism for not taking a zero-tolerance approach to abuse as one of the faces of the #MeToo movement.

In a statement to IndieWire back in February, Newton said he “utterly regrets” his past actions.

“I had a severe problem with substance and alcohol abuse then and for almost six years now I have actively worked every single day, one day at a time, to remain sober and live a clean, upstanding life,” he said.

Chastain’s reps have not responded to TheWrap’s requests for comment since the complaints were made, and the actress has not spoken publicly about Newton on social media.