The Gate Theatre’s announcement of a new HR policy dealing with “sexual harassment and abuse of power” has prompted Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to weigh in on the situation.
The Taoiseach officially encouraged people to come forward if they have been the victim of sexual harassment, indicating that such an act would empower others to do the same.
I think it would be right and appropriate for people who have been sexually harassed to come forward
Varadkar’s statement commenting on The Gate Theatre’s initiative comes shortly after a multitude of sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood’s Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey have emerged.
“Certainly if they have established somebody you can go to, a HR person you can go to in those circumstances, I think it would be right and appropriate for people who have been sexually harassed to come forward,” said Varadkar.
“That requires a degree of bravery, of course, but also it empowers other people to do the same – maybe people who were afraid to do so in the past. When they see others coming forward,” he said, “then they’ll be encouraged to do so as well.”
The Taoiseach declared that balance is important, however, cautioning that the veracity of such claims must be established through “due process” to ensure that people’s right to have “their good name protected” is not infringed upon.
“We do always need to counterbalance that with the understanding that an allegation is an allegation and people have the right to due process and the right to have their good name protected,” he said.
Prompted by the Weinstein and Spacey scandals, The Gate Theatre joined with “other theatrical institutions” last week to condemn sexual misconduct in the world of theatre.
After receiving claims of sexual harassment from several people, The Gate Theatre announced yesterday the establishment of a new channel through which employees can confidentially report any instances of sexual abuse or abuse of power.
The Gate Theatre indicated that they will appoint an “independent professional HR advisor to handle any issues raised” through the new initiative, reports The Journal.
The theatre’s full statement reads:
“The Gate Theatre joined with other theatrical institutions last week to condemn the issue of sexual harassment and abuse of power in the theatre world in Ireland and internationally.
“The Gate board and management made it clear in our statement that we will listen to what people have to say and our aim is to foster a safe and supportive working environment in our theatre.
If you have been contracted by The Gate Theatre or in our employment and wish to talk to us about any concerns please contact us on [email protected].
Any experience shared will be treated in the utmost confidence and we intend to appoint an independent professional HR advisor to handle any issues raised.
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual harassment or abuse, the support services below may be of use:
Dublin Rape Crisis Centre
Pieta House (Self-Harm/Suicide Support)
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