The BBC has suspended the release of an upcoming Agatha Christie adaptation after allegations of rape were made against one of the actors in the programme.
The British actor Ed Westwick, best known for his roles in American drama Gossip Girl and the BBC comedy White Gold, has denied the allegations made against him by two women – Kristina Cohen and Aurélie Wynn.
In a statement posted on social media on Thursday, Westwick said both claims were “unverified and “provably untrue”. But the Los Angeles police department (LAPD) confirmed it was investigating the allegations, and the BBC said it would drop the three-part Christmas drama Ordeal by Innocence, also starring Bill Nighy, Catherine Keener and Matthew Good, until the matter was resolved.
Westwick has stopped filming for his lead role in White Gold, which is on the BBC in the UK and Netflix globally.
“These are serious allegations which Ed Westwick has strenuously denied,” the corporation said in a statement on Friday. “The BBC is not making any judgment but, until these matters are resolved, we will not include Ordeal by Innocence in the schedules. The independent production company making White Gold has informed us that Ed Westwick has paused from filming while he deals with these allegations.”
Cohen filed a report with the LAPD this week after claiming in a lengthy Facebook post that Westwick had sexually assaulted her three years ago at his apartment.
An LAPD spokesman, Michael Lopez, told the Associated Press the Hertfordshire-born actor was listed as a suspect.
Cohen, whose credits include Californication and the horror film Devil’s Night, alleged that after having dinner at Westwick’s home she fell asleep in his guest bedroom before waking up to find him on top of her.
“I told him to stop, but he was strong,” she wrote. “I fought him off as hard as I could but he grabbed my face in his hands, shaking me, telling me he wanted to fuck me. I was paralyzed, terrified. I couldn’t speak, I could no longer move. He held me down and raped me.”
Westwick responded with an Instagram post claiming not to know Cohen. “I do not know this woman. I have never forced myself in any manner, on any woman. I certainly have never committed rape,” he said.
On Wednesday, Wynn posted on Facebook that she had also been raped by the actor in his home in 2014. “I said ‘no’ and he pushed me face down and was powerless under his weight,” she wrote.
The Guardian has contacted representatives for Westwick for comment.