Mark Salling has been dropped from the upcoming film Gods and Secrets after the former Glee star was indicted last week on charges of receiving and possessing child pornography.
Director Adi Shankar released a statement Tuesday saying the project “will be moving forward without” the 33-year-old actor. A percentage of profits from the film will also be donated to a charity for abused children, he added.
Read Shankar’s full statement below.
The innocence of our planet’s children is something that must be protected at all costs. As entertainers, our role is to be the “conscience of humanity,” striving to make the world better for future generations. Sadly, we live in a country where statistically at least 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, 80,000 children are reportedly sexually abused every year, and at least 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18. According to available data, every two minutes, an American is sexually assaulted. Even more troubling, exponentially more cases go unreported as in most situations, authority figures are ill equipped to help.
The aforementioned statistics are nauseating, reminiscent of a third world country, and until very recently, kept out of the limelight. Child abuse is a cultural cancer whose tentacles penetrate far deeper than a single celebrity caught with illicit images on his computer, just as date rape is a is a far more prominent issue than the repeated transgressions of one mediocre entertainer from the 1970’s. Child abuse is a democratic disease existing across socioeconomic lines affecting every walk of life. It affects all of us, and more importantly, its existence needs to cece to exist. Period.
Adi Shankar’s Gods and Secrets will be moving forward without Mark Salling. He has been cut from the mini-series, I will personally be paying for the reshoots, and I hope that Mark finds inner peace. Furthermore, a percentage of profits from the project will go to a charity for abused children. Hopefully some good will come of all of this and I pray that when the dust has settled, the hyper-connectivity of the information age that has brought to light the transgressions of several public figures, will also force us to look within our society to identify and eliminate the root cause of the rape culture we exist in.
Last year, Shankar said he would cut Saling from the film if the claims were true. “Today I was made aware of the serious allegations against Salling as a result of numerous media outlets hounding me as to whether he would remain in Gods and Secrets,” Shankar told E! News. “I won’t feed our growing pitchfork culture. I’m going to wait for all the facts to arrive and if in fact these allegations are true, I will immediately take action which includes removing his scenes from the project.”
Last week, the Glee alum was indicted by a federal grand jury.