Co-founder of Soulpepper Theatre accused of sexual harassment
The co-founder of one of Toronto's best known and most influential theatre companies has stepped down today in the wake of multiple sexual assault allegations.
Artistic director Albert Schultz (pictured at left) has relinquished his responsibilities with Soulpepper at the request of its board of directors who are now engaged in an investigation of the allegations directed towards him by multiple actresses at the company.
"Four lawsuits have been commenced against Albert Schultz as well as the Soulpepper Theatre Company," reads a press release distributed by Alexi Wood of St. Lawrence Barristers, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs.
"The actresses claim that while they were under contract with Soulpepper, they were sexually assaulted and harassed by its Artistic Director, Mr. Schultz, and that Soulpepper did nothing to protect them."
According to the Globe and Mail, the actresses named in the suit are Patricia Fagan, Kristin Booth, Diana Bentley and Hannah Miller. Collectively, their separate civil suits "seek damages totalling $4.25-million from the theatre company and $3.6-million from Mr. Schultz."
“Mr. Schultz abused his power for years," continues the lawyer's statement. "My clients fully intend to hold him and Soulpepper Theatre Company accountable."
A report from the CBC indicates that a number of actors and one director at Soulpepper planned to resign if Schultz didn't step down as artistic director. Schultz's wife, who is also the company's executive director, has also stepped down for the duration of the investigation.
Associate artistic director Alan Dilworth has taken on the role of acting artistic director at Soulpepper.
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