Holiday is over. And, even though it’s a new year, that advent calendar apparently doesn’t have an expiration date. Yesterday it opened its ass and shat out a Canadian, actor Albert Schultz, who founded the Soulpepper Theatre Company.
Actresses Patricia Fagan, Kristen Booth, Diana Bentley, and Hannah Miller are suing Albert Schultz and Soulpepper for sexual harassment and assault. The Globe And Mail has full details of their allegations spanning several years on and off stage. He says he will “vehemently defend myself”. According to the plaintiffs, Albert would often allegedly pull this sh-t during rehearsals and performances. Kristen Booth yesterday on Twitter linked to this article about the sanctity of the rehearsal space, where artists must be safe and free to properly explore their creativity, and how predators have repeatedly exploited that vulnerability to their own selfish advantage.
This was also Lupita Nyong’o’s point in her essay for The New York Times last year when she shared the experience she had with Harvey Weinstein:
“Our business is complicated because intimacy is part and parcel of our profession; as actors we are paid to do very intimate things in public. That’s why someone can have the audacity to invite you into their home or hotel and you show up. Precisely because of this we must stay vigilant and ensure that the professional intimacy is not abused.”
For many artists then, these are violations on so many levels. Physical and emotional violations, certainly. But also a violation of the creative spirit. It’s another layer of hypocrisy. Because men like Kevin Spacey and Louis CK and Dustin Hoffman and so many others and now Albert Schultz, they call themselves artists, servants to art and creativity. They’ve built their reputations on their dedication to the craft and the art and they have been honoured for their contributions to the artistic community…while UNDERMINING the trust and the security and the precious honesty, the promise that exists between artists to give to each other the creative care that’s required to make that art possible. And, in the end, given that massive egos are also involved in all of these situations, maybe that’s what will hurt them the most. To wonder if, in addition to being predators, since they couldn’t honour the code of the art, were they even good artists to begin with?
Yours in gossip,