TORONTO – Four women who have filed sexual assault and harassment lawsuits against a prominent figure in Canadian theatre and the well-known company he co-founded will speak out today at a news conference in Toronto.
The lawsuits naming Toronto-based Soulpepper Theatre Company and its founding artistic director Albert Schultz were filed this week by Patricia Fagan, Hannah Miller, Kristin Booth and Diana Bentley, who have all agreed to be named publicly.
In the lawsuits, the actresses allege the 54-year-old Schultz exposed himself, groped them, and otherwise sexually humiliated them.
Booth says she decided to come forward after seeing an article in the Toronto Star.
“I read an article in the Toronto Star at the end of October. In that article was Soulpepper’s statement on sexual harrassment and their policy and that they stand by them,” Booth says. “My time at Soulpepper, I never once saw a policy on sexual harrassment. Knowing the culture there, the hypocrisy of that statement was what motivated me to come forward so that this does not happen to one other young woman coming up into that company.”
The allegations have not been proven in court.
Soulpepper’s board of directors said Wednesday that Schultz will be off the job pending an investigation and his wife, executive-director Leslie Lester, has volunteered to step down in the interim.
Schultz, who is also an executive producer on the hit CBC television series “Kim’s Convenience,” says he will defend himself “vehemently.”
The lawsuits come as the entertainment industry grapples with growing allegations of sexual harassment and assault, a wave sparked by accusations that emerged against Hollywood giant Harvey Weinstein in the fall.
© 2018 The Canadian Press