Mark Salling Cut From 'Gods and Secrets' Project After Child Porn Indictment
Director Adi Shankar previously said he'd wait to see whether the allegations against the 'Glee' star were true.
Following Glee alum Mark Salling's indictment on child pornography charges, the actor has been cut from the upcoming miniseries Gods and Secrets, director Adi Shankar said Tuesday.
Salling was charged Friday with receiving and possessing child pornography, following an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office. The actor, who previously played Puck on the Fox TV series Glee, was arrested on Dec. 29, after which investigators seized a laptop, hard drive and USB flash drive from Salling's home. Investigators said Friday that the devices contained thousands of pictures and videos depicting child pornography.
Shankar had previously weighed in following Salling's arrest, saying he would remove the actor from the project if the allegations were true.
Salling's indictment does not convict him of a crime, with a statement accompanying the news of his indictment stating, "Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court," but it seems Shankar couldn't wait any longer to make the call about the actor's role in the miniseries.
In a statement released Tuesday, Shankar said Salling had been cut from the project, with the director "personally paying" for reshoots to replace the actor. Beyond that, Shankar, who included a number of "nauseating" statistics about the "cultural cancer" of child sex abuse in his remarks, said a percentage of the profits from Gods and Secrets would go to a charity for abused children.
"I hope that Mark finds inner peace," Shankar wrote, adding, "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."
Salling played a villain in Gods and Secrets, which focuses on superheroes and the dark consequences of their existence.
If convicted, Salling faces five to 20 years in federal prison.
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 far more prominent issue than the repeated transgressions of one mediocre entertainer from the 1970s. 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 [sic] 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.