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Matthew Newton

Newton has been charged with assault against two former girlfriends (Picture: Jim Spellman/WireImage)

Matthew Newton has dropped out of directing Jessica Chastains new movie Eve after being hit with backlash.

Chastain was criticised for working with the Australian director on her new project due to his history of domestic abuse and violence.

Newton, 41, pleaded guilty to one count of common assault in 2007 against then-girlfriend Brooke Satchell, after initially being arrested for intimidation and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. After Newtons psychiatrist said that he was unlikely to reoffend, Newtons conviction was overturned.

In 2010, his then-girlfriend Rachael Taylor took out an apprehended violence order against Newton after alleging that she was punched in the face by the actor. The following year, he was charged with breaching the terms of the order.

Jessica Chastain

Jessica has been vocal in her support of the #MeToo movement (Picture: ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

After a number of arrests in 2012 for trespassing and resisting officers, Newton checked into the Betty Ford Centre for alcohol and drug addiction treatment; he has also received treatment for bipolar disorder.

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Chastain, 41, has been a vocal supporter of the Times Up and #MeToo campaigns, so many people believed it was hypocritical that she was working with Newton.

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In wake of the backlash, Newton has stepped down as director.

In a statement, he said: Yesterday I notified Jessica Chastain and the other producers on the film Eve that I will be stepping down as director. Since the announcement of this film, the responses, which are powerful and important, have not fallen on deaf ears.

More: Film

I am profoundly aware that I have a responsibility to lead where I have failed in the past. I can never undo the harm that Ive caused the people Ive cared about and I carry that shame and responsibility with me every day.

Over the past eight years I have been working extensively with healthcare professionals to help me overcome my addiction and mental health illness. For the past six years I have lived a quiet and sober life. All I can do now is try to be a living amends and hopefully contribute to the positive change occurring in our industry.

Chastain will serve as a producer on Eve, which is being produced by her production company Freckle Films, as well as starring in the action film.

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