National Ballet of Canada falls on sexual harassment claims

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A dancer for the National Ballet of Canada was referred to police over sex assault allegations Lack of trust between senior members of the National Ballet of Canada…

National Ballet of Canada falls on sexual harassment claims

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A dancer for the National Ballet of Canada was referred to police over sex assault allegations

Lack of trust between senior members of the National Ballet of Canada and a former company dancer has forced a creative director to step down.

Creative director Nick Lazzarini was put on leave following an investigation into allegations of sexual assault.

He is also accused of misconduct while working at New York’s American Ballet Theatre in the 1990s.

Both companies have launched internal investigations.

More than a dozen women have come forward to accuse Mr Lazzarini, 52, of misconduct when he was in the ballet world.

Allegations have emerged regarding non-consensual touching, inappropriate conversations and violent comments.

He is also accused of harassing and propositioning someone for sex.

In a statement on Friday, Mr Lazzarini said he was “deeply sorry for the pain and damage I’ve caused over the years”.

“That is why I plan to spend the next seven months to two years to spend time with those in my life who I have hurt and I hope to learn from that,” he said.

The statements came a day after The New York Times reported that one dancer for the National Ballet of Canada had been referred to police over alleged sexual assault.

In a statement on Thursday, the company said it had “deep concerns” over the allegations made against Mr Lazzarini.

“We have a duty to devote ourselves to root out any kind of sexual harassment in any form, wherever it occurs in any company,” it said.

A New York police spokesman said officers had received a complaint of “inappropriate sexual conduct” by Mr Lazzarini in 2016.

The company’s statement added that the investigation into those allegations was ongoing.

The National Ballet of Canada’s annual season runs from 1 September – 6 October.

The American Ballet Theatre’s season starts in September – although Mr Lazzarini was absent from the stage on Saturday in New York.

In a separate statement, he said that he was “sorry for any pain I have caused” and that “this is a very dark moment in my life”.

American Ballet Theatre said it had conducted its own investigation, which cleared him of criminal wrongdoing.

“His alleged actions as alleged are inconsistent with our culture and we hold our dancers and conduct in the highest standards,” it said.

Leave a Comment