Actor Moshe Ivgy takes ‘time out’ after sexual assault allegations

Haifa Theater will need to find substitute performer for his remaining February shows; police yet to open investigation

Actor Moshe Ivgy delivers a statement regarding sexual harassment allegations against him, at the end of a theater show in Tel Aviv on Sunday, February 7, 2016 (Flash90)
Actor Moshe Ivgy delivers a statement regarding sexual harassment allegations against him, at the end of a theater show in Tel Aviv on Sunday, February 7, 2016 (Flash90)

Israeli stage and TV actor Moshe Ivgy on Thursday announced he would be withdrawing from acting for a while, following a slew of allegations of sexual harassment, all of which he denies.

“In light of the wave of reports rocking my life and causing my family much grief, I have decided to take a time out,” Ivgy said in a statement. “I repeat – I did not harm a single person, man or woman. When I am asked [by the authorities] to refer to the issues, I will do so fully but in the locations authorized [to ask me].”

Actress Sarit Vino-Elad on Thursday said she was also a victim of Ivgy’s harassment attempts, but that she had succeeded in stopping him. “Obviously,” she was subjected to his advances, she said, “and he was not the only one.”

Police on Sunday launched a probe into the sexual assault claims against the actor. As part of the probe, which is not yet considered an official investigation, two women were asked if they were prepared to lodge a formal complaint and testify against Ivgy.

The two women had each individually claimed that they were sexually harassed by the actor, at different times and in different places. The most recent complaint by one of the two women refers to an incident that allegedly occurred in 2013. Police believe the women will choose not to testify against Ivgy.

Ivgy has been appearing in two shows in the Haifa Theater, as well as teaching acting in front of a camera at a school in Tel Aviv. The Haifa Theater will need to find a substitute actor for the 11 remaining shows Ivgy is scheduled to perform this month.

The theater said in a statement it would “respect” Ivgy’s decision. The head of the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, Orit Soliciano, welcomed the actor’s decision, lamenting only that it was not made “immediately following the publication of the harsh testimonies of assaults and sexual harassment by him.”

The decision, Soliciano said, does not remove the Haifa Theater’s obligation to “conduct a serious examination of the actor’s conduct toward female employees of the theater and to examine whether other women in the theater were hurt by the actor.”

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