Four women have accused Albert Schultz, the artistic director of Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre Company, of sexual harassment and assault in four separate civil lawsuits, according to a report in the Globe and Mail.
Schultz is one of the co-founders of Soulpepper, which is the largest nonprofit theater company in Toronto and recently played a month-long Off Broadway residency at the Signature Theatre Center. In their allegations, the four actresses describe incidents that occurred over the last 20 years and now seek damages totaling $4.25 million from the company and $3.6 million from Schultz, according to the report. His recent TV credits include Netflix’s “Alias Grace” and BBC America’s “Copper.”
Also an actor and a director, Schultz is accused of inappropriate sexual talk, groping, bullying, exposing himself to an actress before she was about to go onstage, and inserting himself into rehearsals to demonstrate how an actor should touch or kiss an actress during particular scenes, among other allegations.
“Soulpepper Theatre Company confirms that, today, it received statements of claim from four actors regarding a number of workplace issues including allegations against the organization’s Artistic Director Albert Schultz,” the company said in a statement. “The Board of Directors has commenced an immediate investigation. The board has further instructed Mr. Schultz to step down from all his Soulpepper responsibilities while this investigation takes place.”
The statement also expressed the theater’s commitment to creating a safe workplace, but added it would not comment further because the matter is the subject of an ongoing litigation.
The lawsuits against Soulpepper and Schultz are the latest examples of facets of the theater industry caught in the wave of allegations and exposes that have come in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Among the subjects of recent allegations have been a casting director at a prominent Broadway casting agency as well as the playwright Israel Horovitz.