Accusations of Sexual Harassment Rock Greek Arts World
Athens – Less than a month after allegations of sexual harassment by a Greek Olympic sailing champion have been considered a topic that has long been considered taboo, the Greek art world has been swept up in a torrent of accusations and serials .
Many famous actors and directors have been accused of harassment or assault and dropped from high-profile productions. The country’s artistic director of the prestigious National Theater resigned amid protests over reports alleging sexual misconduct and harassment, which he has denied.
The bulk of the allegations – from men as well as women – have surfaced in media reports. Prosecutors in Athens are handling the most serious cases and have vowed to investigate all credible allegations.
A judicial officer, who would only speak on condition of anonymity, said he expected more cases, though it was unclear how many trials led to the alleged incidents and lack of evidence.
The storm of accusations against household names and respected figures in the Greek art world comes in one of Europe’s most conservative societies, where such abuses have long been snatched but never openly discussed, let alone prosecuted Gone.
Last month, in 2004, an Olympic sailing champion, Sophia Becatoro and one of the country’s most popular athletes, Publicly accused A top sailing officer of sexual abuse in 1998. This was the first high-profile accusation of sexual harassment and abuse of power in Greece #MeToo Movement Shook established power structures in many other countries.
His decision to speak opened the floodgates to similar claims and sparked an open and passionate debate about sexual harassment and abuse in Greece, where, the study suggests, in media, sports, politics and more than 10 Nine women face unwanted advances. Male dominated field.
In the performing arts world, professionals say, the problem is acute, and men are also being targeted.
The Union of Greek Actors has received hundreds of phone calls from professionals in recent times alleging mistreatment.
The head of the union, Spicer Bibilas, told Greek television that the actors called him “sahab”, adding that several alleged episodes occurred during Greece’s decade-long financial crisis, when job insecurity was at its peak and people in particular Were weaker than.
In a statement earlier this month, another consortium representing drama students at the National Theater of Greece condemned “countless cases of workplace bullying and sexist violence” as well as racism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination .
In response to the complaints, Greece’s Ministry of Culture said it was overseeing initiatives to create a code of conduct for state-owned cultural institutions. The ministry has urged the national actors’ union to report any instances of misconduct to the authorities.
“There is zero tolerance for abuse of culture, sexual harassment, bullying, discrimination and all forms of violence,” Nicholas Yatromanolakis, Deputy Minister for Contemporary Culture, said in an email. “There is a cultural area and one should live in a place where dreams, not bad dreams, come true.”
But some of the most high-profile figures who have been accused of misconduct say they are victims of a public frenzy, where crime has been reintroduced.
The country’s prestigious national theater artistic director Dimitrios Lignadis resigned on February 6, stating that he had sexually harassed young actors. He denied those reports. Since he stepped down, more reports of sexual abuse have been filed against him.
In his letter of resignation, which was made public by the Ministry of Culture, Mr. Lignadis Referred to “the poisonous climate of rumors”.
His lawyer, Nikos Georges, said that Mr. Lignadis was unfairly targeted. Since his resignation, posters have been placed with his picture at a bus stop in central Athens, warning that they will pay everything. “
“Looks like he’s in the eye of this storm, with new rumors emerging every day,” Mr. Georgesoulis said by telephone, noting that Mr. Lignadis was “ready to offer prosecutors any clarification needed” Were.
Messages sent to Facebook accounts of other acting professionals facing the charges were not responded to, and further attempts to reach them were unsuccessful.
One of the three male actors to accuse film director Kostas Japus of sexual harassment, Harrow Tzatzakis, spoke of “omerta” in the industry, using the term for the mafia’s Code of Silence.
In a statement on their Facebook page on 30 January, Mr. Japs denied the claims.
“I never pressured anyone to conduct themselves in such a way that they do not wish,” he wrote.
“We are afraid to keep the name if they sue us or we know what else,” Mr Tozartzakis told Greek television last week. He asked the Ministry of Culture to clarify that it stands by the victims.
In late January, the three actresses issued a joint statement Kostas Spasaropoulos, an actor and director of sexual harassment. He issued a statement to the Greek media through his lawyer apologizing for offending someone, then seeking an injunction against Greek television channels to prevent him from mentioning his name by citing the statement It was wrong and violated their rights.
One of the three actresses, Jenny Botsi, thanked Ms. Becatoro for breaking a wide silence. Ms. Botti was one of the many people who said that Ms. Becatoro inspired her to come forward.
“She does not know how well she has done,” Ms. Botsi told Greek television. “He has opened a road and thankfully we have seized the opportunity.”
Seven actresses have accused another leading director and actor, George Kimoulis, of verbal and physical abuse, although not sexual harassment. He has dismissed the allegations as “unacceptable and wrong” and is suing at least one of the actresses.
Nevertheless, organizers of the popular Athens and Epidaurus Festival have removed Mr. Kimoulis from a play that takes place at the ancient Epidaurus Theater this summer.
In a statement, the organizers said that they acted because of the “heavy shadow of recent developments”.
Although public accusations and subsequent departures have created uproar in the art world, it remains unclear whether they will ever litigate in the courts.
According to legal experts, the main problem for the accused is that the alleged abuses took place many years ago and the prosecution may be limited to the extent of the country’s borders.
Under Greek law, rape can be prosecuted for up to 15 years. For sexual harassment, the offense ends three months after the incident if there is no legal action.
Although a debate has begun about amending the law for protection for victims of sexual offenses, legal experts said it was unlikely that the government would make any sweeping changes.
Even Ms. Bectoro’s case, which has set off the current wave of allegations, is granted asylum by prosecutors.
Ms Becatoro said it was important for the victims to “break their silence without delay”.
Greece’s President Katerina Sakelopoulou expressed “great concern” about the wave of allegations.
“One of the major advantages of this difficult period for theater and other fields of art and others is to overcome fear,” he said. It was equally important, he said, that justice “is so much a necessity of society that it is given to restore the dignity and influence of individuality and institutions.”