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Actors from B.C.-filmed TV shows address harassment amid allegations against producer

Andrew Kreisberg participates in a panel during the CW Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Aug. 11, 2016.

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Several stars of a group of superhero-themed TV productions filmed in Vancouver are speaking out against harassment in the workplace after producer and creator Andrew Kreisberg was suspended amid allegations of sexual harassment.

The various statements and social-media posts, including from Supergirl star Melissa Benoist, haven't referred specifically to the allegations detailed by the magazine Variety against Mr. Kreisberg, which he denied. Mr. Kreisberg is the latest in a series of directors, actors and other celebrities, including Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, whose careers have come under a cloud because of harassment or abuse allegations.

Mr. Kreisberg was suspended on the weekend from his work on Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and DC's Legends of Tomorrow.

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Mr. Kreisberg was involved in creating all four, which adapt the adventures of characters published by DC Comics Inc. He has also been an executive producer of the series, whose production has employed thousands of B.C. workers.

Ms. Benoist issued a statement on Twitter on Monday. While she did not specifically mention Mr. Kreisberg, she wrote that anyone who harasses people should be held accountable "no matter what industry they work in or how much power they wield."

She added: "This week, I'll head back to work on Supergirl even more committed to being a part of changing the norm by listening when people speak up, and refusing to accept an environment that is anything less than a safe, respectful and collaborative space."

Variety reported allegations levelled by 15 women and four men who have worked with Mr. Kreisberg and said he engaged in a pattern of alleged sexual harassment and inappropriate physical contact over a period of years.

It is not clear where the alleged harassment occurred – the shows are written and edited in Los Angeles, but shot in British Columbia. Variety said Mr. Kreisberg, who has also worked on such series as The Simpsons and Boston Legal, denies the allegations.

In a Facebook posting on Monday, Arrow star Stephen Amell said he will support any ongoing investigation. He also said he supported the comments of Ms. Benoist, and two other actors denouncing abuse.

"Our biggest asset on Arrow is our crew and, furthermore their biggest strength and our biggest strength is working as a team. I think we can do this because we promote and we champion a safe and progressive work environment," Mr. Amell said.

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In addition to Mr. Benoist and Mr. Amell, performers Chyler Leigh, who plays the sister of Ms. Benoist's character, as well as Emily Bett Rickards and Caity Lotz also spoke out against harassment.

Warner Bros. Television Group said it had been made aware of "allegations of misconduct" against Mr. Kreisberg, and, as a result, suspended him as it conducts an internal investigation.

"We take all allegations of misconduct extremely seriously and are committed to creating a safe working environment for our employees and everyone involved in our productions."

In a statement issued last week, Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter, who run Berlanti Productions, which produces the series, said they were aware of "troubling allegations" regarding one of their showrunners and were co-operating with the Warner Bros. investigation.

"There is nothing more important to us than the safety and well-being of our cast, crew, writers, producers and any staff. We do not tolerate harassment and are committed to doing everything we can to make an environment that's safe to work in and safe to speak up about if it isn't," the statement said.

Asked about the economic impact of the shows, the Vancouver Economic Commission and Creative BC, the provincial operation that nurtures the production sector, referred, on Monday, to a study released earlier this year by the Motion Picture Association – Canada that found that production on Arrow alone sustained 7,087 jobs and was responsible for $360.8-million in direct production expenditure in B.C. in its first five seasons. Production of a sixth season has been under way in the Vancouver region.

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Hundreds participate in Hollywood #MeToo march against sexual abuse (Reuters)
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About the Author
B.C. reporter

Ian Bailey is a Vancouver-based reporter for The Globe and Mail.  He covers politics and general news. Prior to arriving at The Globe and Mail, he reported from Toronto and St. John’s for The Canadian Press.  He has also covered British Columbia for CP, The National Post and The Province. More

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