Even in the #MeToo age, the fall of Albert Schultz was unusually swift. A few days ago, Mr. Schultz was the reigning impresario of the Canadian theatre world, covered with glory and honours. Today he is untouchable. He has been denounced as an alleged sexual predator on the front pages of the newspapers. Soulpepper, the theatre he co-founded, has cast him out, along with his wife, Leslie Lester, who was executive director. His life work is tainted, his livelihood destroyed. He is reviled throughout the theatre world. He faces four civil lawsuits and daunting legal bills. But in some ways the legal process is irrelevant. It’s likely that, like Jian Ghomeshi, he’ll never work in this town again – or, for that matter, in any theatre anywhere in Canada.
Good riddance, a lot of people say. He got what he deserved. Forget about the evidence. Allegations are enough. It’s the tenor of the times. First comes the public execution – the trial can wait. As Julius Grey, a senior human-rights lawyer, wrote in the Montreal Gazette, it’s a “new reign of terror.”
Last week – was it only Wednesday? – Mr. Schultz was accused of sexual misconduct by four actresses, who told their stories to the media in some detail. The alleged abuses, which took place over a period of 13 years, included nonconsensual kissing, fondling, butt slaps and the exposure of his penis backstage. The complainants are highly sympathetic; their stories sounded credible. Four other members of the company resigned in a gesture of support.