At the beginning of 2016, producer Sebastian McClard messaged a 17-year-old girl on Instagram. This led to a casual meeting at a Soho loft. Soon after, he told the Safdie brothers that he had found the perfect person to play a small role in their upcoming movie, “Good Time.” The girl, who was from a poor family in New York, was excited to meet the movie’s star, Robert Pattinson, who was a favorite of teenage girls around the world at the time because of the “Twilight” movies. She didn’t know what her scene was about, so she waited all day on the New York set for it to be called. By the time she got to a small room, she was naked and stood in front of Josh and Benny Safdie and about a dozen other male cast and crew members. Instead of acting in a scene with Pattinson, she was paired with an actor who had just gotten out of prison before being hired for the movie.
A source was able to get a statement from the young woman that says she
was utterly stunned and felt terrified. My distress only worsened when out of nowhere, [an actor] whispered in my ear if ‘he could stick it in’ while the cameras rolled. I said ‘no.’
The woman, who is now 24 years old, said what she did in a court case involving Sebastian McClard. The producer is going through a difficult divorce and custody battle with actor and model Emily Ratajkowski. He is also in private mediation with the Safdie brothers, who fired him from their shared production company, Elara Pictures, last summer. This was one of three statements made by women after Sebastian McClard and Ratajkowski’s well-known breakup last summer. The statements show that the producer often preyed on young women on set and was a predator. (The “Gone Girl” actor filed for divorce from Sebastian McClard in Manhattan Supreme Court, saying that the marriage had broken down in a way that could not be fixed.)
The source also talked to more than a dozen people who knew Sebastian McClard and about his behavior. Two of these people were in the room when the 17-year-old girl filmed the disturbing “Good Time” scene. Not long after production ended, she began having sex with Sebastian McClard, despite still being 17. They continued to have a consensual romantic relationship for more than two years. (The age of consent in New York is 17.)
Through a spokesperson, Sebastian McClard refused to say anything. A spokeswoman for the Safdies says:
The Elara team were made aware of Sebastian McClard’s behavior in July 2022. They took immediate action and terminated him.
The statements, which were made in August, also cover Sebastian McClard’s behavior on the set of the Adam Sandler drama “Uncut Gems.” A woman, who was 18 at the time, says she met a then-married Sebastian McClard during production and that he began “grooming” her on Instagram, citing his position in the film industry to make her major career promises. In her statement, she talked about something that happened at the apartment Sebastian McClard and Ratajkowski shared.
Sebastian and I started kissing. Things escalated and then, without asking for my consent, Sebastian inserted himself inside me without using a condom.
The woman also said that Sebastian McClard called her names like “retarded” and “kike,” but he pushed back and said it was all a joke. She says in her statement that he also started following her by using an app on her phone. The woman also says that Sebastian McClard started sending Instagram messages to a 15-year-old girl who wasn’t in the production but had visited the set. When confronted,
Sebastian appeared pleased with himself and laughed at my comment. He did not deny my accusations,
the woman said in the statement.
Multiple sources said that the Safdies fired Sebastian McClard because of his relationship with the 15-year-old and with another young woman on the “Uncut Gems” set, an assistant with ties to the movie business.
A third woman, who has worked as an intern or assistant on several independent films, gave a statement. The statement doesn’t talk about sexual misconduct at work, but it does say that Sebastian McClard did some troubling things.
Ratajkowski, who is 31 years old, didn’t want to say anything, but her friends say she isn’t surprised by the claims. Brett Ward and Jackie Combs, whose law firm Blank Rome helped Tom Cruise get a divorce from Katie Holmes and Channing Tatum get a divorce from Jenna Dewan, are representing her. Sebastian McClard, who is now 42, is working with Caroline Krauss, a well-known lawyer who helped Robert De Niro when he broke up with Grace Hightower in 2018. After dating for only two weeks, Ratajkowski and Sebastian McClard got married in a New York courthouse in February 2018. Ratajkowski is trying to get full custody of their son, Sylvester, who was born in March 2021.
The Oscar best picture winners “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” and “Moonlight” were both released by the New York indie upstart A24. The allegations raise serious questions about why a 17-year-old girl, who didn’t have an agent at the time, was filming naked scenes on a movie set. There is no hard and fast rule against underage nudity, but the Screen Actors Guild has a general rule that working conditions can’t hurt the health, morals, or safety of the minor.
It sounds like they circumvented the entire safety structure of our industry by hiring somebody on Instagram who was not a union member, who doesn’t know her rights,
says Anne Henry, co-founder of BizParentz, an advocacy group for child actors.
Normally, minors have to have their contracts court affirmed, and there’s lots of other hoops in order to cast a minor. This is so not normal. Everything is wrong about this situation.
Sebastian McClard was in charge of making the Safdie brothers’ last three movies. The Safdie brothers are known for their edgy verité style and use of both professional actors and regular people. In 2014, the three of them started a production company called Elara. “Good Time,” a crime thriller that is one of their best-known works, made a big splash at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, where it was up for the Palme d’Or.
Pattinson was not on set the day of the controversial “Good Time” scene, which was cut from the final movie. The name of the performer is in the credits. Sebastian McClard didn’t talk about pay for the role, according to her statement. Instead, he just bought her cigarettes after the shoot. The woman doesn’t get any extra money from A24 for the role she played. It is known from a knowledgeable source that the scene was used in promotional footage shown to buyers at the Cannes market in 2016. Based on that footage, A24 bought the film. A person close to the Safdies who knows how they edit says that the scene didn’t make the final cut because it didn’t fit with their vision.
The women’s claims about the sets of “Good Time” and “Uncut Gems” shine an uncomfortable light on A24, which is still celebrating its big Oscars showing this month. The Safdies and McClard’s Elara got a first-look deal with the company in 2020. This was a long time after the “Uncut Gems” claims had become a hot topic among people who worked on the movie.