Published Jan 03, 2018Four women have filed civil lawsuits against Canadian actor and Soulpepper Theatre Company artistic director Albert Schultz, accusing him of sexual battery and harassment over a 13-year period.
CBC reports that the suits were filed today (January 3) by actresses Patricia Fagan, Kristin Booth, Diana Bentley and Hannah Miller. They allege that "Albert is a serial sexual predator who… had well-developed methods for targeting actresses and luring them into situations that he considered optimal for sexually harassing and assaulting them."
The suits add allegations that the methods were "facilitated by Soulpepper."
In their four suits, the women allege 30 separate incidents in total, many including specific locations and dates. Fagan's suit alleges that Schultz fostered a culture of "mocking, belittling and bullying" at Soulpepper, leaving her feeling "vulnerable and hunted."
In her suit, Booth claims she endured unwanted hugs, kisses and touching, in addition to sexually suggestive language during rehearsals for productions in 2000 and 2005. "Albert's hugs were different," Booth told the CBC. "There were times in some of the hugs where I could feel his genitals against my body."
Booth added, "You didn't want to displease Albert. You didn't want to get in his line of sight because you would pay for it. I knew it was wrong. But I also wanted to keep my job."
You can read more from the complainants here.
The 54-year-old Schultz founded Soulpepper, Toronto's largest not-for-profit theatre company, in 1998 with 11 other artists. He has performed numerous roles at the Stratford Festival, in addition to having television roles in Street Legal, Side Effects, The Red Green Show and Alias Grace. He is a member of the Order of Canada and is currently an executive producer of CBC's Kim's Convenience.
All four plaintiffs are seeking damages of up to $1.25 million from Schultz, in addition to further damages from the theatre company. The CBC also notes that as part of a joint investigation between The National and The Fifth Estate, four additional women have spoken to them about similar interactions with Schultz.
Both Schultz and Soulpepper have yet to respond to the allegations.
UPDATE (1/5, 12 p.m. EST): Following the accusations, Soulpepper Theatre Company has announced that it has accepted the resignation of Albert Schultz as its artistic director.