Nine women have accused acclaimed American Jewish playwright Israel Horovitz, 78, of sexual harassment, including one woman who alleged she was raped, the New York Times reported Thursday.
According to the report Horovitz — who has authored over 70 plays in his five decade career — used his relationship as a mentor to the women, including a number who were minors at the time of the alleged incidents, to take advantage of them sexually.
Jocelyn Meinhardt told the paper that during a summer fellowship in 1989 at Massachusetts’ Gloucester Stage Company, which Horovitz helped found, the playwright drove her to his home.
After arriving, Meinhardt, who was 19 at the time, said Horovitz locked the door and proceeded to grope and kiss her, leading her to cry. He then took her to his bedroom, where she said he raped her.
Another women, Maddie Corman, said she was sexually assaulted backstage by Horovitz in 1986, when she was 16.
Corman, whose mother was on her death-bed at the time, said she was consoled by the playwright, who forced her against a wall and kissed her against her will before she went on stage.
Horovitz had previously been accused in a Boston Phoenix expose in 1993 of sexually harassing 10 women. The president of the board of the Gloucester Stage Company dismissed the accusations at the time.
In response to the latest allegations, Horovitz told the Times that although he has “a different memory of some of these events, I apologize with all my heart to any woman who has ever felt compromised by my actions, and to my family and friends who have put their trust in me.”
“To hear that I have caused pain is profoundly upsetting, as is the idea that I might have crossed a line with anyone who considered me a mentor,” he added.
Horovitz’s son, Beastie Boys member Adam Horovitz, said “I believe the allegations against my father are true, and I stand behind the women that made them.”
Horovitz is the latest prominent figure in the entertainment industry to be accused of sexual misconduct since allegations of harassment were first published against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
In addition to entertainers, a number of politicians have been accused of sexual harassment, including Minnesota Democrat Al Franken. On Thursday, a US army veteran accused the former comedian of groping her during a USO tour in the Middle East in 2003, making her the fifth woman in the past two weeks to accuse the Jewish senator of inappropriate sexual conduct.