The director of Jessica Chastain's new movie has quit the project following backlash about a past domestic violence charge.
Fans of the feminist actress called for her to drop Matthew Newton, who also wrote the screenplay for Eve, after learning he pleaded guilty in his native Australia to assaulting his girlfriend, actress Brooke Satchwell, in 2007.
The conviction was later quashed, but in 2010 another partner, Rachael Taylor, obtained a two-year domestic violence court order against Newton after an alleged assault.
Aussie film critic and broadcaster Mark Fennell pointed out on Twitter that Chastain's decision to work with Matthew contradicted what she told him in an interview earlier this year (18), revealing she said, "I've always made choices, in all the work that I've done, to make sure that on any film set that I'm working with people that there isn't a question about whether or not abuse has taken place," adding, "It's very important to me that I practise what I preach, and that my actions follow my words."
Fennell's tweet quickly turned social media users against Jessica, accusing her of behaving hypocritically or making a mistake.
The 41-year-old actress has yet to respond to the backlash, but now Newton has opted to step down from the project.
In a statement released on Friday (10Aug18), he wrote: "Yesterday I notified Jessica Chastain and the other producers on the film EVE that I will be stepping down as director.
"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.
"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."
Chastain is also listed as a producer on the movie.