Hollywood (and Beyond) Harassment: January 5

Haggis, Wenner, Schultz, Vereen, and Some Quick Takes

Will things be better in 2018? We're 5 days into the new year and this is the first #MeToo roundup, so maybe they will. For now, here's the update. 

Paul Haggis

Award-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby, Quantum of Solace, Flags of Our Fathers) has been accused of sexual misconduct by four women. Two women have accused him of rape and one says she ran away from him. Haggis' lawyers have denied all of the accusations. Haggis has counter-sued the first woman who accused him, alleging extortion. 

Jann Wenner

ABC will no longer be running a planned special on Rolling Stone magazine next month as founder Jann Wenner has two accusations of sexual misconduct against him. The three-hour live broadcast was set to celebrate the magazine's 50th anniversary with "live performances, short films and iconic onstage moments, never-before-seen musical pairings and stars who have helped to shape pop culture, music and politics."

In light of these accusations, the plug has been pulled.

Albert Schultz

Four woman have come forward to say that they were sexually assaulted by theatre star Albert Schultz of the Soulpepper Theatre Company. The women said, according to Global News Canada, that Schultz "exposed himself, groped them, and otherwise sexually humiliated them over several years."

“While the Board of Directors of Soulpepper conducts an investigation into these matters I will be on leave of absence, effective immediately,” Schultz said in a statement released.

“These claims make serious allegations against me which I do not take lightly. Over the coming time period, I intend to vehemently defend myself.”

The women said they had to come forward because Soulpepper is not a safe work environment.

30 incidents have been alleged ranging from 2000-2013.

Ben Vereen

Schultz isn't the only theatre star who has been accused of bad behavior. Tony-winning Broadway star Ben Vereen has been accused of sexual assault while working on the 2015 production of Hair. Two actresses allege that he invited them to their homes and pressured them into taking their clothes off and feeling his genitals before asking for oral sex. Vereen has apologized. 

“I would like to apologize directly to the female cast members of the musical ‘Hair’ for my inappropriate conduct when I directed the production in 2015,” he said.

“While it was my intention to create an environment that replicated the themes of that musical during the rehearsal process, I have since come to understand that it is my conduct, not my intentions, which are relevant here. So I am not going to make any excuses because the only thing that matters here is acknowledging and apologizing for the effects of my conduct on the lives of these women,” he also said.

“Going forward, my having come to terms with my past conduct will inform all my future interactions not only with women, but with all individuals. I hope these women will find it in their hearts to accept my sincere apology and forgive me.”

Women have also commented on Vereen having anger issues. 

Quick Takes

Dave Chappelle is defending fellow comedian Louis C.K. over charges of sexual harassment.

Actor Paul Sorvino sends an explicit warning to Harvey Weinstein after finding out about the producer's vindictive behavior towards daughter Mira (language warning).