Actor John Barrowman apologized in a statement issued to the Guardian after reports surfaced he had repeatedly exposed his genitals to others on the set of Doctor Who. Sources said the veteran actor, who played the ominisexual space buccaneer Captain John Harkness in the popular British television series, was not viewed as a predator by those he flashed, but Barrowman was reprimanded for his onset behavior which subsequently stopped.
“With the benefit of hindsight, I understand that upset may have been caused by my exuberant behavior and I have apologized for this previously,” Barrowman said in the statement. “Since my [first] apology in November 2008, my understanding and behaviour have also changed.”
The controversy came to light after several women leveled charges of sexual harassment against Noel Clarke, his costar on the sci-fi series. A 2015 video from a sci-fi convention showed Clarke discussing Barrowman’s bawdy backstage habits, including one time he placed his penis on the shoulder of female costar Camille Coduri while she was in makeup.
“Do you remember that time he put it on your shoulder in the makeup truck?” Clarke asked Coruriwhile on the video after revealing Barrowman would remove his penis “every five seconds” on set.
“Yes, I do,” Cooduri responded before Clarke went on to use the microphone as a prop in his recreation of the incident.
The veteran actor blamed his “high-spirited behavior” for the controversy and said his proclivity for exposing his penis in public was “only ever intended in good humor to entertain colleagues on set and backstage.”
A spokesman for the BBC confirmed to the Guardian they were aware of the accusations and had reprimanded Barrowman in the past.
“We have a zero tolerance approach and robust processes are in place – which are regularly reviewed and updated to reflect best practice – to ensure any complaints or concerns are handled with the utmost seriousness and care,” the spokesman said.
Julie Gardner, the producer of Doctor Who, confirmed she had received complaints about Barrowman’s behavior, had added she had “reprimanded him” and made “clear to both John and his agent that behavior of this kind would not be tolerated.”
Sources told the Guardian that while the atmosphere on the set of Doctor Who regularly crossed the line into the clearly unprofessional, Barrowman’s behavior not seen as predatory, but instead said he was “joking” and “larking about.”
One source, using the pseudonym of Jenna, told of how Barrowman would whip out his penis and use it as a prop. She said he liked to slap his penis on the windshields of cars, while Clarke claimed he would also routinely slap fellow actors and crew with it.
“It was kind of his thing,” she revealed of his slap-happy penile antics.
Things improved when star David Tenant joined the show in season two.
“David behaved impeccably,” Jenna gushed, adding she thought his presence “helped rein things in.”