Matthew Newton Quits Jessica Chastain Film After Domestic Violence Backlash
Matthew Newton said the "powerful and important" responses to his film have "not fallen on deaf ears".
Matthew Newton has dropped out of a film with Jessica Chastain after a backlash due to his history of domestic violence.
“Yesterday I notified Jessica Chastain and the other producers on the film ‘Eve’ that I will be stepping down as director," he said in a statement.
"Since the announcement of this film, the responses, which are powerful and important, have not fallen on deaf ears.”
Chastain was announced earlier this month to star in 'Eve', a film written by Newton which the Australian actor was also due to direct.
But fans took issue with her involvement with Newton's film, expressing disappointment the outspoken feminist and supporter of #TimesUp would agree to work with someone with a history of violence.
In 2007, Newton pleaded guilty to assaulting his then-girlfriend Brooke Satchwell, a conviction that was later overturned due to Newtown's "severe depressive disorder".
But three years later, he was given a two-year apprehended domestic violence disorder after his then-fiancée, Rachael Taylor, reported he had physically and verbally abused her.
Newton has also twice been charged with violence. The 2011 conviction was overturned on mental illness grounds, but the most recent incident -- punching a hotel clerk in Miami in 2012 -- saw him ordered to complete 50 hours of community service and seek anger management.
"Despite all of this, Jessica Chastain wants to give Matthew Newton a pass?" said an online petition, which gathered more than 7,800 supporters.
"We don't think so. #TimesUp for rich and powerful men being absolved of horrific abuse against women."
In his statement, Newton said he had worked "extensively" with healthcare professionals to help "overcome my addiction and mental health illness".
"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," he said.
"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 has not yet commented on the announcement.