Michael Colgan has ‘case to answer’ over sex harassment claims, says report

Former Gate artistic director of the Gate rejects claims of being a bully, shouting at staff or using profane language

Michael Colgan: report states his behaviour included putting himself in too close proximity to staff and creating excuses for physical contact; making comments of a sexual nature to actresses; telling personal stories of a sexual nature; rubbing backs and placing “hand on knee while typing”.

Michael Colgan: report states his behaviour included putting himself in too close proximity to staff and creating excuses for physical contact; making comments of a sexual nature to actresses; telling personal stories of a sexual nature; rubbing backs and placing “hand on knee while typing”.

 

The former artistic director of the Gate Theatre, Michael Colgan, has a “case to answer” over alleged sexual harassment, according to a long-awaited report into his behaviour at the theatre.

The independent report by workplace relations expert Gaye Cunningham contains Mr Colgan’s outright denial of the allegations.

In Mr Colgan’s reply, summarised in the report, he rejected claims of being a bully, shouting at staff or using profane language.

“He stated that he is a tactile person, he would be often seen throwing his arms around actors and writers. This was not confined to women,” his reply ran.

The report, which has been seen by The Irish Times, states that Mr Colgan’s behaviour included putting himself in too close proximity to staff and creating excuses for physical contact; making comments of a sexual nature to actresses; telling personal stories of a sexual nature; rubbing backs and placing “hand on knee while typing”.

Legal advice

The theatre board will release the report on Thursday. It had said last month it was unable to publish the report on legal advice, following the earlier release of a statement based on its findings. Its release follows pressure to do so.

The review says there were credible and consistent testimonies and finds Mr Colgan has a case to answer with regard to dignity at work, abuse of power and inappropriate behaviours, “in accordance with the definition of sexual harassment”.

Dignity at work issues referenced in the review include bad temper, rages and put downs; profane language and at times calling women c***s; and making young female staff cry and telling them “I’m glad you cried, that shows you care”.

Attempts to contact Mr Colgan were unsuccessful.