Soulpepper’s Albert Schultz accused of sexual misconduct

Four lawsuits have been filed against the founding artistic director of Toronto's Soulpepper Theatre, who also serves as an executive producer on CBC's Kim's Convenience.

judgeFour lawsuits have been filed against the Soulpepper Theatre Company in Toronto and its artistic director Albert Schultz.

The lawsuits were filed at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice by four women who allege Schultz sexually assaulted and harassed them over a period of more than a decade. The women who filed the lawsuits are actors Kristin Booth, Diana Bentley, Hannah Miller and Patricia Fagan.

Their statements of claim allege that “Albert was a serial sexual predator who, by the time of the harassment and assaults…had well-developed methods for targeting actresses and luring them into situations that he considered optimal for sexually harassing and assaulting them.”

“Mr. Schultz abused his power for years. My clients fully intend to hold him and Soulpepper Theatre Company accountable. Their brave lawsuit is the first step towards righting this incredible wrong,” said Alexi Wood of St. Lawrence Barristers, LLP, counsel to the actresses, in a statement released Jan. 3.

In a statement, Schultz said he does not take the claims made against him lightly and that he plans to “vehemently defend” himself. On Jan. 4, Schultz resigned as artistic director.

Schultz, an actor who appeared on TV series such as Street Legal (1991-1994) and The Red Green Show (1996- 1998), is the founding artistic director of Soulpepper. He’s also an executive producer on Kim’s Convenience, which is produced by Vancouver’s Thunderbird Productions.  

In a statement to Playback Daily, the prodco said “Thunderbird has a strict no tolerance policy against harassment of any kind, and strives to provide a safe environment for all of our employees. Soulpepper’s Albert Schultz is one of several executive producers on the television series Kim’s Convenience. His executive producer position was appointed by Soulpepper Theatre, the company that presented the play upon which the series is based. Mr. Schultz is not an employee of Thunderbird and does not have an active role in the day-to-day production of Kim’s Convenience. We are saddened to hear about the allegations and have the utmost respect for the complainants and due process.”

CBC spokeswoman Emma Bedard stated, “In light of the serious allegations made public today, we expect Thunderbird will take the necessary actions to ensure a safe and respectful workplace and we have conveyed that to them.”

Soulpepper Theatre’s board of directors announced on Jan. 3 that it has commenced an investigation into the claims. Associate artistic director Alan Dilworth will fill in as acting artistic director.

“As a responsible organization, Soulpepper’s priority is to create a workplace where all its employees feel safe. It therefore takes all allegations of harassment very seriously. It has policies and procedures in place that prohibit harassment anywhere in its workspace, and that provide a clear process to report harassment, in a safe, private and respectful way,” the board stated.

The actresses will hold a press conference Jan. 4 to discuss their claims at Levitt LLP in Toronto.

Updated Jan. 5 at 8:45 am to include Schultz’s resignation.