“Rustin” co-writer Dustin Lance Black has been acquitted on an assault charge following allegations stemming from a bar fight.

Black, who won the Oscar for penning “Milk,” was accused of grabbing BBC presenter Teddy Edwardes’ wrist while at a nightclub in London in August 2022. Edwardes claimed Black twisted her hand, which led to her drink being spilled on her. Edwardes punched Black in the head and received a warning from police after the encounter.

London District Judge Louisa Cieciora found that Edwardes was not “consistent” in her claims, and that security footage did not show Black pouring a drink on her.

“I am pleased that the judge saw the truth today and ruled in my favor,” Black said in a statement to IndieWire. “As the evidence has proven, and I have always maintained, I am completely innocent, and in fact was the victim in this case of a serious assault. I am relieved this unfortunate matter is now over.”

Black told Variety upon leaving the U.K. courthouse, This is a moment of exoneration – this case has flown in the face of everything I am and I am grateful to the judge for exonerating me.”

Judge Cieciora added to the outlet, “[Edwardes] said in her evidence today she could not remember a wrist grab clearly. I found that to be an odd statement given she had made public statements on social media and to the police this is what happened.”

Black had previously posted on Instagram in September 2022 following the encounter with Edwardes.

“A month ago I sustained a serious head injury that put me out of commission,” Black wrote at the time. “Showing little improvement, my doctors ordered me to shut off my brain in hopes of it healing. This has been a challenging, frightening time for a creative type who depends on what’s in his skull to work, care and love. And now I understand the road back will be long.”

“Rustin,” directed by George C. Wolfe and co-written by Black and Julian Breece, was released on Netflix November 3. The biopic follows Civil Rights leader Bayard Rustin (Colman Domingo) who organized the 1963 March on Washington alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. Later in life, Rustin worked for LGBTQ+ activism and brought attention to the AIDS crisis in conjunction with the NAACP. Rustin died in 1987, and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2013.

Leave a comment