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One of Germany’s leading television production companies has said they have found no evidence to support claims of sexual harassment and abused leveled at German director Dieter Wedel.
Two months ago, production group Bavaria launched an internal investigation into Wedel’s behavior on the set of several series he helmed for the company, including The King of St. Pauli (1997) and The Semmeling Affair (2001). The investigation was a reaction to reports by several actresses who had worked with the 75-year-old director, in which he was accused of misconduct ranging from harassment to sexual assault.
Wedel was the first major figure in the German entertainment industry to be accused of sexual harassment in wake of the #MeToo movement and has been compared in the German media to disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. He has denied all allegations.
On Thursday, Bavaria announced the results of its investigation, concluding it could find no evidence “for accusations leveled in the press” of sexual harassment by Wedel on Bavaria productions. German public broadcaster ZDF carried out a similar investigation into Wedel and also found no evidence of misconduct. But the Bavaria investigation was larger and more comprehensive, involving the examination of some 200 documents relating to Wedel productions and interviews with some 20 former employees who worked with the director.
Bavaria, however, said it did find evidence that Wedel’s behavior on set, which included angry outbursts towards female employees, would be intolerable according to the company’s current code of conduct.
Wedel resigned from his position as artistic director of the Bad Hersfeld Theater Festival in the wake of the harassment claims, citing stress and poor health as a result of the media campaign against him.
In January, authorities in Munich began a criminal investigation into one of the accusations, alleging sexual assault, which is still within the statute of limitations.
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