Theater director fired amid sexual misconduct claims
Jan. 24, 2018
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut theater's artistic director has been fired amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
The board of trustees for the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven voted unanimously Tuesday night to fire Gordon Edelstein, who was placed on leave Monday following a report in The New York Times.
No one answered a phone listing Wednesday for Edelstein's home in New York City.
The Times reported Monday that it interviewed four women on the record who alleged unwanted sexual contact by Edelstein since his arrival in 2002. One of the women, who complained to theater management in 2006, accused Edelstein of unwanted groping and kissing, and alleged he masturbated in front of her. Other former employees told the Times the prominent director made sexually explicit remarks.
Theater board chairwoman Laura Pappano said none of the current board members were on the board when the 2006 complaint was filed, and there hadn't been any sexual misconduct complaints since.
Pappano said she looked into the board's responses to allegations against Edelstein and they seemed appropriate, including mandatory counseling and sexual harassment training after the 2006 complaint. She said the allegations reported by the Times were different, and more lurid, than the accusations reported more than a decade ago.
Pappano released a statement Tuesday night saying there will be an independent review of the theater's policies and procedures for reporting misconduct, and managing director Joshua Borenstein will be taking over artistic and administrative leadership.
"We must ensure that nothing like this happens again," the statement said. "This is a time that demands sober self-reflection and openness. We must do more to create the kind of working environment that our talented and committed staff deserve."
Before coming to New Haven, Edelstein was artistic director at A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle. After the allegations were reported Monday, an actress at the Seattle theater alleged Edelstein groped her there in 2002, The Seattle Times reported .
Also this week, the Alley Theatre in Houston fired Edelstein as director of "Satchmo at the Waldorf," which is still scheduled to open next month under a new director.
Edelstein has won awards from the Connecticut Critics Circle, including its highest honor in 2007-2008. He also directed plays on Broadway, including "The Road to Mecca" in 2012.