B.C. actor Michael Coleman denies allegations of sexual harassment

Coleman co-founded a Vancouver acting school, is known for role as Happy in Once Upon a Time

Actor Michael Coleman has denied what he calls a “whisper campaign” of sexual harassment allegations that have been made against him, saying they have damaged his reputation and his career could be ruined.

Coleman, who co-founded an acting school in Vancouver and is known for his role as Happy the dwarf in the television series “Once Upon a Time,” told a news conference Friday he has never kissed or inappropriately touched any acting student, staff member or fan.

He directly addressed four separate allegations, which he said date back to 2009, including one involving inappropriate comments that he says came from a fake Twitter account in his name.

The complainants have not been identified and none of the allegations have been proven.

Coleman called the complaints an anonymous attack on his reputation.

“What I’d like to speak to today is the importance of words matter. I have seen my name in headlines with words like sexual misconduct and sexual allegations. And if you ask anybody what they are, the answer would be, ‘Well I’m not sure,’ ” Coleman said.

Coleman said the first allegation came out in October 2017 at a town hall meeting held by the Union of B.C. Performers, which did not immediately return a request for comment. He said the union invited people to discuss sexual harassment in the entertainment industry after allegations were made against producer Harvey Weinstein.

After that, Coleman said SchoolCreative Institute of the Arts launched an investigation.

“When there were allegations involving my name, as per our own protocol, I took a mutually agreed upon leave of absence and we initiated our own internal investigation,” he said in a later interview.

He said he voluntarily stepped aside from an active role in the school so it could take place. However, Coleman said he took issue with fact it was conducted by a staff member and not a third-party investigator.

The staff member reached out to the woman from the town hall and asked if there was anyone else she should speak to, Coleman said. That’s how the three other complaints were lodged, he said.

Coleman said his career could be ruined by the allegations, which have sparked a rumour mill. His IMDb page says he has also appeared on “Stargate: Atlantis,” “Smallville” and “Supernatural.”

He said a shareholders’ dispute that resulted in his departure from GO Studios and SchoolCreative escalated because of them. The owners decided they no longer wished to be in business together, he said.

He also said he voluntarily stepped aside from an active role in the school to allow an investigation into the allegations to take place, but it was never completed.

Scott Gamble, admissions director at SchoolCreative, said to its knowledge none of the allegations involved the school.

“Out of respect for the complainants and in the interests of protecting everyone’s privacy, SchoolCreative has no further comment on this matter,” he said in a statement. “We are focused on continuing to deliver first class education to our students in a safe and respectful environment.”

He said 14 instructors who resigned returned to the school after Coleman left the company.

A group of about 10 protesters holding signs reading “We believe the women” were allowed to watch the news conference.

Lisa Ovies, who was among the protesters, said there is a support network for women making allegations.

“We have a whole bunch of people here listening. If anybody wants to come forward privately or publicly, you have a community behind you,” added Ovies, who said she worked with Coleman for four years at a children’s acting school.

She said watching the news conference was difficult.

“It’s hard to express what you’re going through, from tears to anger,” Ovies said.

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

Police, muni on site of break-in at pump station

Investigation being conducted but no public safety concern, officer says

Nanaimo Lakes fire a model for new satellite mapping technology

B.C.-based technology company uses Nanaimo Lakes fire to create animated map of fire progress.

Ladysmith 49ers U11 AA team mount fourth place finish at provincials

The U11 AA Ladysmith 49ers hosted the Regional Island Tournament at Holland… Continue reading

Sonic the Hedgehog movie casting call in Ladysmith next week

Film to hire 100 people as extras to play role of ‘townsfolk’

Block Watch meeting in Crofton brings added security to continue combating crime

More volunteers added to guard neighbourhoods against suspicious activity

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

RCMP to search for body after man drowns in B.C.’s Buntzen Lake

Officers and fire crews responded but the man from the Lower Mainland is believed to have drowned.

Police chiefs call for stricter controls on pill presses to fight opioids

Canada’s police chiefs are urging Ottawa to beef up its fight against the opioid scourge by closely vetting people who import pill presses

Victoria police say explicit calls continue to target women

Over 50 reports of unwanted, sexually explicit calls have come in

‘It’s like a party in your mouth’

B.C. creator’s Milkshake Burger makes its debut at the PNE

Vehicle catches fire near Vancouver Island provincial park

Fire shut down Highway 4 in both directions

Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Environmental organization develops app to help with the nationwide count

Most Read