Australian director Matthew Newton has stepped down from his latest project, the upcoming Jessica Chastain film Eve, after coming under heavy criticism for his history of domestic abuse.

Chastain has been one of the most prominent voices behind the Time’s Up movement, and fans urged her to rethink her decision to work with Newton in light of his treatment of women.

In a statement overnight, the director said:

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.

Matthew Newton was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend Brooke Satchwell in 2007, but the conviction was later overturned in when a judge was persuaded that he was suffering from “severe depressive disorder” at the time.

In 2010, he was handed an apprehended domestic violence order after being accused of two-instances of assault by then-partner Rachel Taylor. He was accused of breaching this order the following year, and told to remain under psychiatric care.

Source: BBC News
Image: Getty Images