| What you loved and loathed last month

Toronto Life - - News -

The vast ma­jor­ity of read­ers ap­plauded Leah McLaren’s de­tailed and dis­pas­sion­ate re­port on the rise and fall of former Soulpep­per artis­tic di­rec­tor Al­bert Schultz. And that was true whether they were among his foes or fans.

“I never take the time to write the edi­tor of a mag­a­zine, but I was moved to do so af­ter read­ing ‘Down­fall’ by Leah McLaren. One of the hard­est things for me about the #MeToo move­ment is to read about men I have re­spected for their achieve­ments only to dis­cover this as­pect of their per­son­al­ity that makes them feel en­ti­tled to act in harm­ful ways to­ward women. I was sad to hear that Al­bert Schultz was caught up in his own #MeToo mo­ment. Soulpep­per has been such a great thing for the city, the Dis­tillery District and the­atre­go­ers. I have been a fan from the be­gin­ning.

“But women needed this reck­on­ing. Past bad be­hav­iour must be ac­counted for. And McLaren did a great job of pre­sent­ing a thought­ful, mea­sured ar­ti­cle on such a dif­fi­cult dis­cus­sion.”

—Anna Pan­grazzi, Toronto

“In her ex­cel­lent ar­ti­cle on Al­bert Schultz, Leah McLaren states that none of Al­bert’s col­leagues, save Noah Rich­ler, would iden­tify them­selves. Had she asked me, I would have been more than happy to make some per­sonal re­flec­tions pub­lic. I have known Al­bert since he was 21. We have acted to­gether, I have di­rected him, he has di­rected me. I am also a found­ing mem­ber of Soulpep­per.

“I have some se­ri­ous ques­tions about the in­tegrity of the process that ru­ined a man’s ca­reer, ren­dered him un­em­ploy­able, de­stroyed his legacy, made him a pariah and caused deep hurt to his fam­ily.

“On Jan­uary 3 of this year, I was di­rect­ing at Soulpep­per when I read the al­le­ga­tions printed in the Globe and Mail. I was to­tally and ut­terly stunned. I could not com­pre­hend the words used to de­scribe the man I had known and worked with all these years. Yes, he could be high-handed—it was his com­pany. But I was al­ways glad to work at Soulpep­per. I had some ter­rific ex­pe­ri­ences, worked with tal­ented and gen­er­ous peo­ple, and never, ever heard even a whis­per of sex­ual im­pro­pri­ety.

“To see Al­bert’s name along­side Har­vey We­in­stein’s was, and is, ap­palling and ridicu­lous. I think Noah Rich­ler got it right. This was about re­sent­ment and power.

“In the name of com­mon sense and de­cency, I would like to have my voice heard. And, as you can see, my name is at­tached.” —Diana LeBlanc, Toronto

“All he had to do to be re­spected was not treat women like crap. Glad that men like him are be­ing called out for it. Sorry, be­cause he was a tal­ented ac­tor. Not sorry, be­cause he ap­par­ently didn’t learn a damn thing from the roles he played.” —toronto34, Red­dit

“Once again we find out that shitty, nar­cis­sis­tic peo­ple can cre­ate great things. At the same time, it’s un­for­tu­nate for all the peo­ple who have worked in some ca­pac­ity for Soulpep­per, be­cause the or­ga­ni­za­tion doesn’t de­serve the stain.”

—Zelig42, Red­dit

“He’s no Har­vey We­in­stein or Jian Ghome­shi. But he used the ex­cuse of artis­tic open­ness to jus­tify be­hav­iour that should have been un­ac­cept­able. And, be­cause of his po­si­tion of power, no­body reined him in. The idea that peo­ple would re­port his ha­rass­ment to his wife was ab­surd.”

—short­_bald­ing_guy, Red­dit

“Leah McLaren writes: ‘In the midst of #MeToo, the CBC de­cided that Canada needed to find its own Har­vey We­in­stein—a pow­er­ful and fa­mous man guilty of

sex­ual im­pro­pri­ety in the work­place... Then they set about find­ing their Har­vey.’

“Else­where in the same is­sue, Sarah Ful­ford writes: ‘There was some ex­cel­lent re­port­ing on the case… in the Globe and Mail, and on the CBC in par­tic­u­lar.’

“Where does re­port­ing stop and witch-hunt­ing be­gin?”

—Philip Wedge

“How can you use the min­i­miz­ing phrase ‘just gar­den-va­ri­ety in­ap­pro­pri­ate­ness’ in the same ar­ti­cle as ‘the grab­bing and grop­ing, the sex jokes at work that went way too far, the psy­cho­log­i­cal abuse’?” —Kevin John McDon­ald,


The edi­tor’s let­ter about the Schultz story also elicited a re­quest for a cor­rec­tion:

“Thank you for your mea­sured in­tro­duc­tion to the ar­ti­cle on Al­bert Schultz and Soulpep­per. There’s one fac­tual er­ror that needs to be cor­rected. You write that ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Les­lie Lester ‘re­signed’ from the the­atre. This a com­mon mis­per­cep­tion. She most cer­tainly did not.

“As the board of di­rec­tors wrote in their state­ment of Jan­uary 6, 2018, the the­atre ‘sev­ered its re­la­tion­ship’ with Lester, with no ex­pla­na­tion for their rea­sons.

“Lester is a fe­male trail­blazer and men­tor who has nur­tured count­less artists and per­form­ing arts com­pa­nies for over three decades. She was in­stru­men­tal in build­ing the Young Cen­tre for the Per­form­ing Arts and or­ga­nized a tri­umphant sum­mer res­i­dency for Soulpep­per in Man­hat­tan only a year ago. The Toronto Life story con­tin­ues to bury the in­jus­tice of Lester’s abrupt dis­missal. She de­serves more.” —Colleen Allen

—Anne Fenn —Marni Jack­son —Molly John­son —Sarah MacLach­lan —Banuta Rubess —Deanne Tay­lor,


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