Steven Seagal abruptly walked out of a live television interview on Thursday after being asked about the numerous sexual assault allegations made against him.
The American actor, who was granted Russian citizenship in 2016, refused to be questioned on the subject when it was raised on BBC’s Newsnight by veteran presenter Kirsty Wark.
“In terms of your life in America, you have very much been caught up in all the allegations of sexual harassment, you had a rape allegation against you and I wonder how you deal with all that,” Wark asked. Seagal instantly pulled out his earpiece and walked away from the set.
“Hello Steven Seagal? Wark stated, later adding: “Steven Seagal there, and of course though he didn’t respond there, he has said previously that he denies any allegation made against him.”
A clip showing the response, posted to Twitter, has already racked up more than 17,000 views.
As a martial arts icon and musician, Seagal is best known in the U.S. for his Hollywood film Under Siege. Politically, he is a supporter of Russian president Vladimir Putin, and was appointed as special representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry in August this year.
For years, but especially since the rise of the #MeToo movement in 2017, multiple women have come forward to accuse Seagal of sexual harassment, assault and rape—claims he denies.
Earlier this year, actor Regina Simons alleged during a press conference alongside former model Faviola Dadis that Seagal raped her when she was 18. Simons said she was cast as an extra in one of his films, On Deadly Ground, and had been invited to his home for a party.
“Seagal was more than twice my size and twice my age, I was not sexually active, nor had I ever been naked in front of a man before,” Simons alleged. “I remember him taking off his robe and the next thing I knew he was inside of me. There was nothing consensual about this.”
Dadis alleged she was assaulted by Seagal during an audition in 2002 at age 17. “Steven slipped his hand under my bikini top and began pinching my nipples and simultaneously slid his hand across my vaginal area” she said. “I left feeling horrified and totally violated,” Dadis added.
Media personality Jenny McCarthy alleged Seagal demanded she undress for an audition for Under Siege 2. And actor Portia de Rossi opened up on Twitter about her alleged experience. “My final audition for a Steven Seagal movie took place in his office,” she wrote. “He told me how important it was to have chemistry off-screen as he sat me down and unzipped his leather pants.”
In March this year, Seagal’s attorney Anthony Falangetti denied the allegations, claiming they were “a disservice to women who are victimized because of real predators in the film industry.”
“The allegations that have been made against Mr. Seagal are false and have no substantive material support,” read a statement issued after Simons and Dadis came forward with their testimony. “The accounts of both women are completely fictitious and totally made up.”