Gate Theatre asks people to come forward amid sex harassment claims
Varadkar backs Gate Theatre’s move to address sexual harassment claims
The Gate Theatre is to appoint an independent professional adviser to deal with allegations of sexual harassment
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last night said it is “right and appropriate” that people who may have been affected by alleged sexual harassment or abuse of power while working at the Gate Theatre should come forward now.
The Gate Theatre is to appoint an independent professional adviser and has set up a confidential email address for those who wish to communicate their concerns about experiences they may have had.
A statement on the Gate Theatre website reads: “The Gate Theatre joined with other theatrical institutions last week to condemn the issue of sexual harassment and abuse of power in the theatre world in Ireland and internationally.
“The Gate Board and Management made it clear in our statement that we will listen to what people have to say and our aim is to foster a safe and supportive working environment in our Theatre.
“If you have been contracted by The Gate Theatre or in our employment and wish to talk to us about any concerns please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Any experience shared will be treated in the utmost confidence and we intend to appoint an independent professional HR advisor to handle any issues raised.”
Speaking in the United States, the Taoiseach said: “I would be cautious about commenting on that in detail. I just don’t know the facts but you know certainly if they have established somebody you can go to, a HR person you can go to in those circumstances I think it would be right and appropriate for people who have been sexually harassed to come forward.
“That requires a degree of bravery of course but also it empowers other people to do the same, maybe people who were afraid to do so in the past, when they see others coming forward well then they’ll be encouraged to do so as well.
“We do always though need to counterbalance that with understanding that an allegation is an allegation and people have the right to due process and the right to have their good name protected.”
The move by the Gate comes less than a week after the theatre’s director, Selina Cartmell, joined with other theatre directors to condemn harassment “in the theatre world in Ireland and internationally”.
Following that, a number of women have published blog posts with accusations of inappropriate behaviour against a figure in the Irish theatre world, since widely shared and commented upon online by members of the Irish theatre community. The most recent blog post alleged both harassment and inappropriate sexual contact.
On Thursday, the Gate’s board and management issued a further statement specifically addressed at those who have worked for the theatre: “We made it clear in our statement that we will listen to what people have to say and our aim is to foster a safe and supportive working environment in our theatre.”