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Posted: November 30, 2017

Nine women accuse playwright Israel Horovitz of sexual assault

Playwright and theater director Israel Horovitz has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women, according to a New York Times report.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images/Getty Images
Playwright and theater director Israel Horovitz has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women, according to a New York Times report.

By Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Playwright and theater director Israel Horovitz has been accused of sexual assault by nine women, according to a New York Times report published Thursday.

Jocelyn Meinhardt said she was raped by Horovitz in 1989 when he drove her in a convertible to his family home and locked her in his bedroom. Meinhardt was 19 at the time and was participating in a summer fellowship at Gloucester Stage Company in Gloucester, Massachusetts, which was founded by Horovitz.

Frédérique Giffard, an au pair for the Horovitz family, said she was groped and forced to touch Horovitz in 1991, when she was 16. 

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Maia Ermansons told the Times that in 2016, when she was 21, Horovitz kissed her and groped her breasts when she met with him to discuss a theater project. She said she had known Horovitz since she was a child. 

“I felt close to him like a grandfather, but also he was a somewhat famous guy whose time I felt privileged to have,” Ermansons told the publication. “For the man who represented all that, to treat me the way he did, was the ultimate betrayal.”

The recent public accusations against Horovitz by Ermansons, Giffard and Meinhardt are the latest in allegations against Horovtiz. The Times reported that Gloucester Stage officials knew of sexual misconduct by Horovitz for at least 24 years.

In August 1993, the now-defunct Boston Phoenix published multiple stories in which 10 women accused him of sexual assault and harassment. The Times reported that Gloucester severed its relationship with Gloucester after getting word of Ermansons’s allegations.

“I apologize to the brave women who came forward in 1992 and 1993 but were not listened to,” Elizabeth Neumeier, the Gloucester board’s current president, said in a statement. “We are individually and collectively appalled by the allegations, both old and new.”

Horovitz apologized in a statement to the Times, but said he has “a different memory of some of these events.”

“I apologize with all my heart to any woman who has ever felt compromised by my actions, and to my family and friends who have put their trust in me,” Horovitz’s statement said. “To hear that I have caused pain is profoundly upsetting, as is the idea that I might have crossed a line with anyone who considered me a mentor.”

Horovitz’s son Adam, known as Ad-Rock of the hip-hop group Beastie Boys, issued a statement in support of the women making the allegations.

“I believe the allegations against my father are true, and I stand behind the women that made them,” Adam Horovitz said.


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