If you've been following what's been going on with Doctor Who & Torchwood star John Barrowman through our coverage, then you know that the last time we checked in with "Captain Jack" it was November 2020 and we were expressing our concerns that it didn't seem like Barrowman was quite getting it. In a nutshell, Barrowman was called out in early 2021 when allegations of inappropriate behavior resurfaced via a 2014 video where his Doctor Who co-star Noel Clarke (who was facing his own allegations) discussed Barrowman exposing himself on the set. Barrowman would release a statement to The Guardian to address his "high-spirited behaviour" that he said "only ever intended in good humour to entertain colleagues on set and backstage," continuing, "With the benefit of hindsight, I understand that upset may have been caused by my exuberant behaviour and I have apologised for this previously. Since my apology in November 2008, my understanding and behaviour have also changed."
But since that time, some have questioned whether or not Barrowman recognizes the severity of his actions and if he is truly owning up to his past and learning from it. His appearance on the ITV talk show Lorraine in November of last year did little to calm those concerns- as did a recent response he gave on Twitter regarding his returning to BBC's Doctor Who and any possible Torchwood reboot. When a fan tweeted, "Please make up with the BBC and return to 'Doctor Who' and help reboot 'Torchwood'… Us Whovians need you," responded with a retweet that read, "Mate they dumped me… I don't need to make up to anyone." When the individual responded with, "I understand. I hope they come to their senses" in the thread, Barrowman suggested that fans "tweet them [BBC] not me…"
Barrowman appeared on Lorraine to share his thoughts on the controversy after some time to reflect. "I think that if it was now, it would be crossing the line. I think that something that happened 15 years ago, it was bawdy behaviour, silly behaviour. It was, you know, being done in the confines of the set and with, you know, we were like a family, working together," Barrowman said (to be clear, the "15 years ago" he references was the difference between 2006 and 2021). "The fact that it was stories that I've already told, you know, I've been telling them for years," Barrowman continued. "I haven't hidden anything; they've been exaggerated and they've tried to turn them into sexual harassment, which it absolutely is not."
But the biggest problem with the people attacking him on social media, according to Barrowman, is that they weren't there. "And the one thing that, you know, for me, all the people that are making a fuss about it, they weren't there. They don't know the context of things that were done, like I said I would never do it now, but what we're not allowing people and myself to do with the continued bashing in the press and everything that's going on just to sell the newspapers, [is] we're not allowing people to learn to adapt and to change, and that's the most important thing," he argued
Time's Up U.K. didn't buy into Barrowman's argument that exposing oneself on a set was much more acceptable in 2006. Following Barrowman's appearance, the organization issued a statement to Variety pushing back on his comments. "The assertion by John Barrowman that his well-documented actions do not constitute sexual harassment reveals yet again the need for the entertainment industry to underline and reassert expected standards of behaviour of which this is wholly unacceptable," a Time's Up U.K. spokesperson told the entertainment news outlet. "Flashing people IS sexual harassment and it is never funny."