Since the announcement of the Australian actor’s role in the film last week, his involvement has been widely criticised due to the 41-year-old’s history of alleged domestic violence and assault.
Newton, who was also chosen to write the script for Eve, released a statement today sharing that he hopes to take responsibility for his past actions and contribute to the positive change occurring in the film industry.
“Since the announcement of this film, the responses, which are powerful and important, have not fallen on deaf ears. I am profoundly aware that I have a responsibility to lead where I have failed in the past,” he said.
“I can never undo the harm that I’ve caused the people I’ve cared about and I carry that shame and responsibility with me every day.”
Newton, who is the son of Australian entertainment royalty Bert and Patti Newton, was subject to a number of domestic violence allegations between 2006 and 2012.
The Underbelly actor was convicted of assaulting actress Brooke Satchwell in 2007, and later in 2010 given an apprehended domestic violence order from his then-girlfriend actress Rachael Taylor, who accused him of two assaults.
For all four violent assaults, Newton's charges were dropped.
In his statement, Newton added that since 2010, he has been working to overcome his issues with addiction and mental illness.
"For the past six years I have lived a quiet and sober life," he said.
"All I can do now is try to be a living amends..."
As a prominent advocate for the Time's Up movement, actress and producer for Eve Jessica Chastain was heavily criticised and accused of hypocrisy online for selecting Newton to direct her new film.
In January, I asked Jessica Chastain about making choices when there's been allegations of abuse. She said this. https://t.co/cJatBvDVOx I have trouble seeing how she can justify working with Matthew Newton. https://t.co/SRNTS0zjjd
— Marc Fennell (@MarcFennell) August 4, 2018
How does Jessica Chastain claim to be an advocate for women in the industry and has constantly been a part of the MeToo discussion but in the same breath turn around and work with someone who has abused multiple women? This is peak white feminism holy shit https://t.co/M0eP18hOIG
— donnia (@fincherism) August 3, 2018
Maybe after @jes_chastain has made her movie with Matthew Newton, she can make a movie with Brooke Satchwell and Rachael Taylor, the women he was charged with assaulting, battering and stalking. Or hire the 66-year-old taxi driver he bashed as a set driver.
— Glenn Dunks (@glenndunks) August 4, 2018
Please tell that with a straight face to actors Rachel Taylor and Brooke Satchwell after you work with their known abuser Matthew Newton on upcoming film Eve. Sorry @jes_chastain but #credibilitymatters you can’t support and reward abusers and be a spokesperson for a cause.
— Thomas Elliott - 艾湯姆 (@thomaselliotthk) August 4, 2018
@jes_chastain Why are you supporting a violent and abusive man like Matthew Newton who has hurt so many ex-girlfriends? Look at his convictions. Read his pathetic excuses. Aren't you meant to be an advocate? Don't you want to stop seeing abusers rewarded?
— Countess (@countess_skanky) August 2, 2018
A petition was also created in response to Chastain's hire of Newton. It received over 7,000 signatures.
The Oscar-nominated actress has not publicly commented on Newton's decision to drop out from the film.
In a statement last week confirming that Newton would direct Eve, Chastain described him as "wonderfully adept at crafting complex and reliable characters".