| What you loved and loathed last month
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.”
“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.”
“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?”
“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,