Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Artists issue open letter in support of women suing Soulpepper, Albert Schultz

Plaintiff Patricia Fagan (second from right) speaks to press after filing a lawsuit alleging sexual harassment by Soulpepper Theatre Company director Albert Schultz, in Toronto, on Thursday, January 4, 2018.

Actor Mia Kirshner, filmmaker Sarah Polley and author Ann-Marie MacDonald are among hundreds of artists who released an open letter Monday morning supporting the four women who have filed civil lawsuits against Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre Company and former artistic director Albert Schultz, alleging years of sexual harassment and assault by Mr. Schultz both on stage and off.

Major figures in Canadian theatre, such as playwrights Michael Healey and Daniel MacIvor, are signatories to a letter directed at Soulpepper's board of directors that states they "believe the allegations … raised against Albert Schultz and Soulpepper," as are actors Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Jean Yoon, the stars of Kim's Convenience, the CBC-TV spinoff of a Soulpepper play that is executive-produced by Mr. Schultz. (Mr. Schultz, an actor and director, also appeared in Ms. Polley's recent television series, Alias Grace.)

Read the letter to the Soulpepper Theatre's board of directors

Story continues below advertisement

"Last week, Diana Bentley, Kristin Booth, Patricia Fagan, and Hannah Miller broke a decades-long silence," the letter reads. "We believe the allegations they raised against Albert Schultz and Soulpepper Theatre Company. We also believe that there are more stories like theirs that have not been told."

The letter's 280 signatories call on Soulpepper's board to "acknowledge the harm these women, and others, have suffered."

"In the coming weeks, we look forward to the board's announcement of concrete steps it is taking to ensure that Soulpepper is a safe environment, where abuse and harassment cannot be tolerated, and where art can flourish," the letter concludes.

Mr. Schultz resigned as artistic director at the request of the board on Thursday – and, over the weekend, the theatre company said it had "severed its relationship" with its long-time executive director Leslie Lester, who is married to Mr. Schultz.

Mr. Schultz has vowed to "vigorously defend" himself against the allegations that have been levelled against him in the lawsuits. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles as we switch to a new provider. We are behind schedule, but we are still working hard to bring you a new commenting system as soon as possible. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.