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Frank Langella is refuting “unacceptable behavior” allegations while working on the Netflix series “The Fall of the House of Usher,” a show he was subsequently fired from following a sexual misconduct investigation in April.
The 84-year-old actor, who starred as Roderick Usher on the streaming service series before his role was recast to Bruce Greenwood, also criticized “cancel culture” as he addressed the accusations for the first time in an op-ed published on Deadline.
Fox News Digital has contacted Langella’s representatives for additional comment.
“I have been canceled. Just like that,” he wrote. “In the increasing madness that currently pervades our industry, I could not have imagined that the words ‘collateral damage’ would fall upon my shoulders. They have brought with them a weight I had not expected to bear in the closing decades of my career. And along with it has come an unanticipated sense of grave danger.”
“The Fall of the House of Usher” also stars Carla Gugino, Mary McDonnell, Willa Fitzgerald, Kate Siegel, Carl Lumbly and Mark Hamill.
Langella allegedly told an inappropriate joke on set and then touched a female co-star’s leg while filming. He then brought attention to the moment by saying, “Did you like that?” sources told TMZ at the time.
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“On April 14 of this year, I was fired by Netflix for what they determined to be unacceptable behavior on set. My first instinct was to blame. To lash out and seek vengeance. I interviewed crisis managers, tough connected lawyers, the professionally sympathetic at $800 per hour.
“Free advice was proffered as well: ‘Don’t play the victim.’ ‘Don’t sue. They’ll dig into your past.’ ‘Sign the NDA, take the money and run.’ ‘Do the talk shows, show contrition, feign humility. Say you’ve learned a lot.’”
He continued: “Apologize. Apologize. Apologize.
“I was playing the leading role of Roderick Usher in Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of The House of Usher modernized as an eight-episode series for Netflix. It is a glorious role, and I had come to regard it as, most likely, my last hurrah. Bizarrely prophetic under the current circumstances.”
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Langella then recalled the incident on March 25 when he was “performing a love scene with the actress playing my young wife” when she claimed “he touched my leg” after the director called “cut.”
He wrote: “She then turned and walked off the set, followed by the director and the intimacy coordinator. I attempted to follow but was asked to ‘give her some space.’ I waited for approximately one hour, and was then told she was not returning to set and we were wrapped.”
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“Not long after, an investigation began. Approximately one week later, Human Resources asked to speak to me by phone,” he recalled. “Toward the end of our conversation, she suggested that I not contact the young lady, the intimacy coordinator, or anyone else in the company.”
He said that HR didn’t want to “risk retaliation,” and when Langella attempted to reconcile his intentions, “she cut me off politely and said: ‘Intention is not our concern. Netflix deals only with impact.’
The Academy award-nominated actor went on: “When you are the leading actor, it requires, in my opinion, that you set an example by keeping the atmosphere light and friendly. Nevertheless, these were some of the allegations: 1. ‘He told an off-color joke. 2. ’Sometimes he called me “baby” or “honey.”‘ 3. ‘He’d give me a hug or touch my shoulder.’
He continued: “‘You cannot do that, Frank,’ said our producer. ‘You can’t joke. You can’t compliment. You can’t touch. It’s a new order.’”
Langella wrote that allegations against him were “demonstrably false,” and cited an April 13 story from an outlet as “a total lie.”
“The actress was mentioned by name. The same young woman who had accused me of ‘touching her leg’ on camera in the love scene,” he wrote. “The next day the item was corrected to read: ‘Frank Langella has not been fired but is under investigation.’ In this version, the actress’s name was deleted.”
Langella added: “That afternoon, I was fired. I was not given a hearing with Netflix. My request to meet one-on-one with the actress was denied. The directors and the producer stopped answering my emails and phone calls. Within 30 minutes of my firing, a letter went out to cast and crew and a full press release was sent immediately. My representatives and I were given no opportunity to comment or collaborate on the narrative.”
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He continued: “I cannot speak to the intentions of my accuser or Netflix, but the impact on me has been incalculable. I lost a thrilling part, the chance at future earnings and perhaps face a stretch of unemployment. Netflix terminated me after three months of work with only three weeks left to shoot, and I have as yet to be fully remunerated for my services. Most importantly, my reputation has been tarnished.
“These indignities are, to my mind, the real definition of unacceptable behavior.
“Cancel culture is the antithesis of democracy. It inhibits conversation and debate. It limits our ability to listen, mediate, and exchange opposing views. Most tragically, it annihilates moral judgment.
“This is not fair. This is not just. This is not American.”
A rep for Netflix did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.