In 2007 he was convicted of assaulting actress Brooke Satchwell, but the conviction was overturned when the judge accepted Newton had suffered a "severe depressive disorder".
The initial announcement that Chastain would star in the film Eve, written and directed by Newton, was accompanied by a glowing character assessment from the 41-year-old star of The Help and Zero Dark Thirty.
Three years later, he was given a two-year apprehended domestic violence order after his girlfriend, actress Rachael Taylor, accused him of two assaults. "Since the announcement of this film, the responses, which are powerful and important, have not fallen on deaf ears".
Have you been following news about Matthew Newton? On Friday he said he was "profoundly aware that I have a responsibility to lead where I have failed in the past". "I can never undo the harm that I've caused the people I've cared about and I carry that shame and responsibility with me every day". Chastain, a vocal member of Hollywood's #MeToo movement and Time's Up, initially called Newton "wonderfully adept at crafting complex and relatable characters" in a joint statement with Freckle Films' Kelly Carmichael.
"For the past six years, I have lived a quiet and sober life", Newton added. After being charged for breaching the terms of the order in 2011 and getting arrested multiple times the next year for resisting officers, Newton received treatment at the Betty Ford Center for alcohol and drug addiction, as well as bipolar disorder. He released a statement addressing the criticisms, acknowledging his past mistakes, the efforts he's made to change and his desire to do better in the future and contribute to the positive change occurring in the industry.
Chastain is also listed as a producer on the movie.
Chastain was criticised online for the apparent tone deafness of her professional involvement with Newton, at least to an Australian audience who were more familiar with Newton's history.
In an interview conducted earlier this year with Australia's The Feed, Chastain spoke about ensuring she doesn't work with abusers on her film sets.
"It's very, very important to me that I practise what I preach and that my actions follow my words", Chastain said.
The 41-year-old actress has yet to respond to the backlash, but now Newton has opted to step down from the project.