“Alias Grace” actor Albert Schultz has resigned from his role as artistic director of Canada’s Soulpepper Theatre Company, a spokesperson for the company told TheWrap on Thursday.
Alan Dilworth will take Schultz’s place as acting artistic director. “Alan will lead an organization that has a breadth and an enormous depth of talent with a proven track record of artistic excellence,” the statement said.
Schultz’s resignation comes after Soulpepper’s board instructed him to step down from all of his positions at the company as it opens an investigation into his behavior. Schultz co-founded Soulpepper, Toronto’s largest nonprofit theater company, with 11 other people in 1998.
“Mr. Schultz’s resignation will allow Soulpepper to focus on its core mission: to provide a safe community for its exceptionally talented group of professionals,” the statement continued. “While this has been a tremendously difficult chapter in Soulpepper’s history, today’s decision ensures the organization is able to move forward with confidence and remain a leading Canadian theatre company.”
Schultz was accused of sexual assault by four actresses in four separate civil lawsuits filed on Tuesday. Patricia Fagan, Kristin Booth, Diana Bentley and Hannah Miller filed their suits in Ontario Superior Court, accusing Schultz of repeatedly groping and kissing women without their permission and exposing himself to them on stage.
In total, the women are seeking 3.6 million Canadian dollars, or $2.9 million U.S., in damages from Schultz, as well as 4.3 million Canadian dollars, or $3.4 million U.S., from the company, which they say enabled his behavior and did nothing to protect 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,” the women’s lawyer, Alexi Wood, said in a statement.
The four actresses accuse Schultz of misbehavior spanning 13 years, labeling him a “serial sexual predator” in each case.
“[Schultz] had well-developed methods for targeting actresses and luring them into situations that he considered optimal for sexually harassing and assaulting them,” all four statements of claim read. “These methods regularly involved Soulpepper staff and were otherwise facilitated by Soulpepper.”
Schultz has appeared on a number of Canadian TV series, most recently Netflix/CBC’s Margaret Atwood adaptation “Alias Grace.”