Ricky Gervais responded to accusations of sexual misconduct from 11 women leveled against his longtime collaborator, Charlie Hanson, Saturday. The veteran comedian says he is shocked by the news.

“I am shocked and appalled to learn of the historical allegations made by a number of women against Charlie Hanson. The decision was made to immediately remove him from production and I am confident the matter is being handled thoroughly,” said Gervais in a statement on Saturday.

Ricky Gervais, Charlie Hanson
Handout / Getty Images

The 11 women detailed Hanson's misconduct in a letter sent to BAFTA and Netflix that was published in the U.K. newspaper, The Times.

“Charlie Hanson is a predator who uses his reputation, connections and standing in order to groom far younger, impressionable and sometimes vulnerable women into trusting him,” the women alleged in the email. “At times he will promise them a starry career under his wing, and then exploits that trust in creepy and illegal ways. He then tries to diminish the seriousness of what he’s done by telling these young women — us — that it wasn’t as bad as it seemed, that it was somehow blameless. He does his best to convince himself — and others — that this method of operating is fine. But we know it is not fine.”

BAFTA has since suspended Hanson’s membership. He has also been removed from his role on Netflix's After Life.

Hanson's legal team released a statement denying the accusations: “Our client is shocked and appalled by these historical and false allegations of improper conduct towards women. He maintains that he has never acted inappropriately on any production, or at all, and has never had any complaints made about his conduct over the course of many decades in the media industry.”

[Via]