One day after Budapest’s prominent Katona József theater announced the sacking of an employee for “repeated inappropriate conduct”, well-known Hungarian film and theatrical director Péter Gothár, 72, admitted in a statement that he was responsible for one case and had apologized to the actress in question.
“One year ago I approached a female colleague in a morally unacceptable way. A few days later, I apologized and she accepted the apology,” the award-winning Gothár wrote in the statement. “Now that the case became public in both the theater and the country, I would like to publicly apologize again. I am very sorry for what happened. I am also sorry if I have offended anyone with my brusque style, bad manners or morally objectionable behavior.”
On Tuesday, the theater released a statement saying that “the management of the Katona József theater has learned that one of its contract staff has repeatedly displayed behavior transgressing moral boundaries on several occasions.”
The statement also added that the offended staff member wished to remain anonymous.
While the offender was not originally named, sources told Origo that it was one of the theatrical directors who sexually harassed a number of actresses.
A number of actors and actresses who have previously worked with Gothár were asked about the case by news portal Origo. They either said they did not even know of the case or simply refused to comment.
One actor, Andor Lukáts, who has been a member of the Katona ensemble for nine years, made a general comment, saying, “Where there is power, there are also forms of coercion. If you don’t like what is on offer, you can leave. This is just my presumption, but I can imagine anything happened. I think it has been like this since antiquity.”
Back in 2017, at the peak of the #MeToo scandals, Katona even featured a theatrical production on the topic of sexual harassment.
Title image: Theatrical and film director Péter Gothár (source: Katona József theater homepage)