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When word came down that Glee star Mark Salling had been arrested on child pornography charges, most of us had to Google the name in order to remember which one he was. The actor hasn’t actually been seen on screen since the series ended, but now the charges against him may get him removed from the one movie he has worked on.
Adi Shankar, the director of the independent film Gods and Secrets, has said that he is prepared to remove Salling from the film, but he’s going to wait to see if the charges are true first. Shankar told E! News that he didn’t want to buy into the growing "pitchfork culture" and so he would not make the decision to remove Salling solely because the charges were filed. However, if the allegations are proved true, than Shankar is prepared to edit Salling completely out of the film. Filming has already been completed. Salling plays an unnamed villain in the film, which is about the darker consequences of a world filled with superheroes.
Mark Salling was arrested on Tuesday after the LAPD Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Unit executed a search warrant on his home. Images were reportedly found on his home computer, which resulted in him being booked. His $20,000 bail was paid by his family.
Needless to say these are fairly serious charges, the stain of them can be so great that Shankar’s willingness to wait and see is actually a little surprising. Many in his position would simply cut all ties just to keep his movie safe. Anything short of complete exoneration will likely still have lingering effects on Salling’s career.
Shankar, whose previous credits include producing the popular Power/Rangers short film with Katee Sackhoff and James Van Der Beek had put together an eclectic and interesting cast for Gods and Secrets. In addition to Mark Salling, the film includes Denise Richards and Jane Seymour, as well as popular gossip blogger Perez Hilton and a couple of retired professional wrestlers, "Diamond" Dallas Page and John Hennigan (formerly John Morrison, formerly Johnny Nitro). The movie currently has an unspecified 2016 release date, so it’s not clear how much time Shankar has to make the editing decisions. It’s also unclear how big Salling’s part actually is, though it must not be too big for editing him out to even be an option. Salling has a court date of January 22, at which he’s expected to enter a plea for the charges against him.
What do you think of the "wait and see" approach. Is giving Mark Salling the benefit of the doubt the right thing to do, or should separating him from the film be the top priority for its creator?