Petitioners are calling on actress Jessica Chastain to drop Matthew Newton, who has a history of physical assault accusations, from his role as the director of her upcoming movie “Eve.”
The Care2 petition, titled “#TimesUp Activist Jessica Chastain Hires Domestic Abuser to Direct New Film,” has garnered 6,103 signatures as of this writing. The petition points to Chastain’s record as one of Hollywood’s most vocal advocates of gender equity, and then asks, “Despite all of this, Jessica Chastain wants to give Matthew Newton a pass? We don’t think so. #TimesUp for rich and powerful men being absolved of horrific abuse against women.”
Last week, Chastain was announced as the star of “Eve,” with Newton directing based on a script he wrote. Chastain is also producing. His other recent credits include “From Nowehere” and “The Sideways Light.”
Also Read: Fans Ask Jessica Chastain to Drop Director Matthew Newton Over Past Assault Accusations
He pleaded guilty in 2007 to one count of common assault on his ex, Brooke Satchwell, but the conviction was later overturned after his psychiatrist said he suffered from depression and was unlikely to reoffend. In 2010, then-girlfriend Rachael Taylor took out an Apprehended Violence Order against Newton, citing what she said were two violent assaults in Rome. In December 2011, Taylor was charged with assaulting a Sydney taxi driver (the charges were dropped later that year). In April 2012, Newton was arrested in Miami for trespassing and resisting officers, but the charges were later dismissed under the condition that he would pay $11,500 and complete 50 hours of community service.
Newton, the son of Australian media personality Bert Newton and singer Patti Newton, has said his history of mental illness, drugs and drinking are responsible for the charges, and that he has repeatedly sought help.
He has not had any apparent trouble with the law since 2012, the year he says he became sober. His most recent film, “Who We Are Now,” investigates the possibility and hope of redemption.
The announcement of Newton’s hiring drew immediate backlash on Twitter, with fans appearing disappointed that Chastain, who has said the first meeting of #TimesUp was held at her home, wasn’t taking a zero-tolerant policy toward past accusations of abuse.
wow okay so i come back to the news that jessica is working with known abuser matthew newton and let me just say that i have never been so disappointed in my life. i sincerely hope she has some kind of explanation for this or that it’s somehow a mistake…
— ً (@chastainsgadot) August 3, 2018
@jes_chastain Why are you supporting a violent and abusive man like Matthew Newton who has hurt so many ex-girlfriends? Look at his convictions. Read his pathetic excuses. Aren’t you meant to be an advocate? Don’t you want to stop seeing abusers rewarded?
— Countess (@countess_skanky) August 2, 2018
Chastain’s reps did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and the actress has yet to comment publicly on either the petition or the initial social media backlash to Newton’s hiring.
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