Israel Horovitz Resigns from Gloucester Stage Company Following Sexual Assault Allegations

Industry News   Israel Horovitz Resigns from Gloucester Stage Company Following Sexual Assault Allegations
 
The theatre has cut ties with the founding artistic director and playwright after a number of serious allegations dating back to 1986.
Israel Horovitz
Israel Horovitz

Playwright and director Israel Horovitz has resigned from the Gloucester Stage Company in Massachusetts following allegations of sexual assault from several women. Horovitz co-founded the theatre with Geoff Richon and Denny Blodget in 1979.

Board member Liz Neumeier sent an email to Gloucester Stage members November 30 explaining that the staff had been contacted by a reporter at the New York Times with news of allegations against Horovitz from nine women.

A number of the allegations, detailed in a Times article published November 30, are by women who considered the renowned playwright a mentor. One of the women, Maddie Corman, was a 16-year old actor performing in one of Horovitz’s plays Off-Broadway at the time of the alleged assault (1986).

In her statement, Neumeier writes that Horovitz initially denied the allegations and called a board meeting. After being unable to attend the meeting, he resigned and is no longer an ex-officio member of the board of directors.

“It is of the utmost importance that our theatre home be a safe space for everyone: our actors, artistic and production teams, staff, volunteers, apprentices, and patrons,” reads the statement. “It is deeply troubling that the person whose work, for decades, has been most central to GSC's mission and brand would so egregiously violate that space and put at risk the safety and welfare of those in his charge.”

Horovitz is an Obie-winning playwright and director. His plays include The Indian Wants the Bronx, which starred Al Pacino Off-Broadway in 1968, as well as Morning and Park You Car in Harvard Yard, which played on Broadway in 1968 and 1991, respectively. His play Out of the Mouths of Babes ran Off-Broadway last year, along with Man in Snow, which debuted at La MaMa Off-Off-Broadway last fall.

This is not the first time Horovitz has been accused of sexual assault during his 50-year career. In 1993, a Boston Phoenix exposé featured accusations from ten women. The allegations were subsequently dismissed from the board’s president at the time. Neumeier told the Times that she was sorry that those women had not been taken seriously more than two decades ago.

In his own statement to the New York Times, Horovitz said that he was “profoundly upset” by the allegations, adding: “I apologize with all my heart to any woman who has ever felt compromised by my actions, and to my family and friends who have put their trust in me.”

The news arrives during a charged media storm of high-profile allegations of sexual assault against a number of men in the entertainment industry including Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Charlie Rose, and most recently, Matt Lauer. Veteran British theatre director Max Stafford-Clark has also been accused of inappropriate, sexualized behavior toward a staff member at Out of Joint, the theatre company he founded.

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