Neil Marshall Denies Extortion Report, Attacks ‘Casting Couch Culture’

Director Neil Marshall has issued a statement denying a report that he tried to extort NBCUniversal vice chairman Ron Meyer, saying the media should focus on the “real villains” and on Hollywood’s “terrible casting couch culture.”

Marshall was responding to a report on Wednesday in The Wrap, which identified him and another director as seeking hush payments to stay silent about Meyer’s brief affair with actress Charlotte Kirk eight years ago.

Meyer resigned on Tuesday after informing NBCUniversal of the situation, and of a settlement he had paid to the actress.

In a statement to Deadline, Marshall blasted the allegations against him as “nothing but lies based upon falsehoods,” and “a load of old bollocks.”

Marshall also attacked websites that “believe they can publish whatever scurrilous garbage that is fed to them with impunity,” and said that his career and his reputation had been irreparably damaged.

He also argued that the media should be focusing on “the morally corrupt dinosaurs” who run Hollywood.

“Thanks to the #metoo movement, and every resignation and revelation it has brought about, things are changing for the better,” he wrote. “What we need now is more woman in charge of studios, and the absolute abolishment of the terrible casting couch culture (which has morphed into sexual predation) that has long been an accepted part of the business.”

Marshall and Kirk are engaged. Kirk also stars in and co-wrote “The Reckoning,” Marshall’s upcoming horror film about a medieval plague.

“What we have here is a witch-hunt, plain and simple, perpetrated by overprivileged men in positions of power, aided by friends of equal standing and lack of ethics, fuelled by clickbait headlines such as we’ve seen these past few days, and carried out against the woman I love, my fiancé Charlotte Kirk,” Marshall continued. “I am simply collateral damage, thrown to the wolves by using some trumped up malicious allegations as a smokescreen to distract the focus from the real villains here. Charlotte has had the guts to stand up to her detractors and not allow herself to be bullied into submission, and neither will I.”

Reached for comment by Variety on Tuesday, Marshall hung up the phone. Subsequent messages have not been returned. Meyer’s representatives declined to comment on Thursday.

Marshall and Kirk were scheduled to give a Zoom Q&A on Thursday evening, following the virtual screening of “The Reckoning” as part of the Fantasia International Film Festival. The Q&A has been canceled.

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