The “Almost Family” star, who says he’s never even met the accuser, says he’d already signed a sworn statement with the FBI and filed a criminal complaint against her for extortion.
Even as his television show was being canceled for low ratings, Timothy Hutton is fighting back against an allegation of sexual assault dating back 37 years from a woman he claims has tried multiple times to extort him “for millions of dollars” over the past two-and-a-half years.
BuzzFeed filed the bombshell report, in which a woman named Sera Dale Johnston claims she was sexually assaulted by Hutton and another man in 1983 when she was 14 years old. Hutton denies having ever even met her and is threatening a defamation suit against the woman, now 50.
“I never assaulted Ms. Johnston,” Hutton told Deadline after the story went public. “She threatened that if I did not meet her demands, she would go to the press with a false allegation that I sexually assaulted her 37 years ago in Canada.”
He then chastised the outlet for running with Johnston’s “false story,” saying they “knew the truth because they were provided with documented evidence.”
Hutton’s attorney, Tom Clare of Clare Locke LLP, declared his intention to send a retraction demand to BuzzFeed for the story, adding that if the outlet does not comply, Hutton “is prepared to take any and all necessary steps, including the filing of a defamation lawsuit, to clear his name and to hold BuzzFeed and Ms. Johnston accountable for their reckless and self-serving efforts to destroy Tim’s reputation and career.”
“What’s really going on here is that Ms. Johnston’s extortion attempts failed,” Hutton said. “She then decided to follow through on her threat to go to the press with her false story.”
Clare detailed the “documented evidence” he claims BuzzFeed received as part of the firm’s full statement:
There was no encounter of any kind here, and certainly no sexual assault. The woman featured in the BuzzFeed article, Sera Dale Johnston, has tried to extort millions of dollars from Tim over the last two years. The article was published only after those extortion attempts failed. BuzzFeed, facing serious financial struggles and pressure to attract readers, has shamefully disregarded the facts and allowed itself to be used by Ms. Johnston.
Buzzfeed knew the truth before publication. For example, BuzzFeed knew that, in July 2019, Tim filed a criminal complaint with the FBI — long before Ms. Johnston made her own report to the police. Further, BuzzFeed recklessly disregarded multiple sworn declarations from neutral third parties that absolutely show Ms. Johnston’s allegations to be false. In addition, BuzzFeed ignored hard evidence that Ms. Johnston lied about participating in extortion attempts and turned a blind eye to critical inconsistencies in Ms. Johnston’s story.
According to Hutton, “When I became aware of this, I went to the FBI, signed a sworn statement, and filed a criminal complaint against Ms. Johnston for extortion.” This was purportedly in July 2019; the FBI would not confirm or deny that Hutton had contacted them, per Deadline.
“I will not stop fighting to expose this story for what it is — a failed extortion attempt based on something that never happened,” he concluded his statement.
According to Buzzfeed’s lengthy and graphic story, the alleged incident took place while Hutton was filming the movie “Iceman.” Johnston claims Hutton and another man performed unwanted sexual acts on her after inviting her and two of her friends up to the actor’s room.
The story further says Johnston filed her complaint officially with the Vancouver Police Department in late 2019 as a direct response to the #MeToo movement, because she thought she wouldn’t be believed; Vancouver PD also would not confirm or deny this. She further says Hutton offered her a settlement of $135,000 so long as she was willing to deny the alleged incident occurred, which she says she refused.
BuzzFeed also reports they spoke independently with one of the two friends Johnston was allegedly with that night who hadn’t spoken with Johnston in decades, but immediately knew what they were calling her about. The woman claims — and signed an affidavit — to having seen Johnston leave the room for what she thought was consensual sex, as well as hearing uncomfortable sounds from the room.
The other woman purportedly told Johnston she would not be available to corroborate her story because of things going on in her own life “that are more pressing and needing my full mental and emotional space and I do not have the capacity to help you.” The outlet claims it spoke with five other people who corroborated that Johnston told them the same story.
Fox announced they were pulling the plug on Hutton’s “Almost Family” within hours of the bombshell BuzzFeed report, but there is no overt indication that the two events are related. Neither the network or show’s production have commented on the allegations. The show did not do well in the ratings and had already not been picked up beyond its initial 13 episodes, so the decision is not a surprise.
With “Almost Family” canceled, Hutton is next set to appear as the president in FX”s upcoming adaptation of the comic book series “Y: The Last Man.”