Letter from Council President Scott Bellis and Executive Director Arden R. Ryshpan
Dear Equity member
Recent news has broken that the civil lawsuits against Equity member Albert Schultz and Soulpepper Theatre have been resolved outside of court.

It is our sincere hope that the four women complainants are satisfied with the resolution of their lawsuit and the outcome has provided them closure to this difficult situation. Equity commends any artist who comes forward to name a harasser. The live-performance industry as a whole is made stronger when we all stand up for respectful working conditions and workspaces.

The Soulpepper situation has raised some questions from the membership and we would like to provide some answers.

  • It's important for members to note that while a lawsuit is pending, Equity bears the responsibility of equal representation of parties on both sides of an issue, if they are members of Equity. Additionally, in the case of a lawsuit it is imprudent and unfair to take any action until a finding had been made in the courts.

  • In the case of no finding, Equity has no grounds to take action against an accused unless the Association’s disciplinary processes is triggered by a member coming and filing a formal harassment complaint.

We would like to remind our members that workplace harassment will not be tolerated by Equity. For many years the culture of our industry included a seemingly unbreakable power structure that allowed certain gate-keeping individuals to exert negative, unwelcome and damaging behaviour toward others with impunity and little consequence. This culture is now changing.

Equity is committed to securing safe respectful workspaces for our members, and for standing up for those who experience otherwise. Mutual respect is a necessary component of our work, and it is our hope to see it become the unbreakable structure we all deserve to work within.
Scott Bellis
On behalf of Equity Council
Arden R. Ryshpan
Executive Director
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