Allegations of sexual harassment surrounding a noted playwright has forced Tampa's Jobsite Theater to cancel an upcoming production. And its producing artistic director says this wasn't an easy decision.
David Jenkins has worked for years with famed playwright Israel Horovitz, so he said it was "stunning" to hear about the allegations from nine women.
"It's really, really hard for me, because this is somebody I consider a friend, a mentor, this is somebody who I frankly love a lot," Jenkins said. "And it hurts, it really, really hurts."
Jenkins responded by cancelling an upcoming performance of Horovitz' "Man in Snow," which he calls a punch to his gut.
"I feel that out of respect for the nine women who seemingly have been ignored for almost three decades, and with the timing of this whole thing, I just felt that the right thing to do would be to suspend the production, and stop this collaboration for the time being," he said.
The allegations were reported earlier this week in the New York Times. It ends a three-year collaboration between Jenkins and Horovitz.
"Working with him in the way that I have for the past four years, it's shocking. It's shocking," he said. "I can't recall a single comment or vibe. Being as close to both he and his wife Gillian over the last couple of years, as I've become, it just doesn't seem real. "
Jenkins said he will spend the next several weeks finding a replacement show for next spring.
Here's a statement from the Jobsite Theater:
“My heart is broken right now,” says Producing Artistic Director David M. Jenkins, “I am absolutely gutted. Israel has become like a father to me over the past few years, and I have learned more from him than I can possibly put into words right now. To say I feel betrayed would be a gross understatement, and my heart goes out to the victims who have lived with this for so many years and the pain they must be experiencing all over again.”
The company, having both harassment and whistleblower policies already in place, intends to do an investigation of their own into prior collaborations to ensure that there were no similar incidents in previous years.