German Director Resigns as Head of Theater Festival After Sexual Assault Claims

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Dieter Wedel

Dieter Wedel has stepped down as artistic director of the Bad Hersfeld Theater Festival following multiple assault accusations, which he denies.

German director Dieter Wedel has resigned from his position as artistic director of the Bad Hersfeld Theater Festival after several actresses accused him of sexual assault.

Wedel, also one of Germany's most successful television directors, announced Monday he was stepping down. A spokesperson for the 75-year-old director said he was currently in the hospital. “After the events of the last two weeks, he is poor health."

German tabloid Bild reported he was being treated following a heart attack.

In a recent article in German weekly Zeit Magazin, several actresses accused Wedel of acts of sexual violence ranging from harassment to sexual assault. Wedel is the first major figure in the German entertainment industry to be accused of sexual harassment in the wake of the #MeToo movement triggered by allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein last year. The German director has disputed the allegations in a sworn affidavit.

"For more than two weeks, I have been exposed to a never-ending flood of serious accusations and allegations raised publicly in the media," Wedel said in a personal statement released Monday on the festival website. "The extent and nature of these charges have left me deeply disturbed and shaken — along with the fact that they haven't stopped."

Wedel has been the artistic director of the Bad Hersfeld Theater Festival since 2014. He is best known for his television work, including the award-winning German miniseries Der Schattenmann and The King of St. Pauli.