Prominent LGBT activist Gal Uchovsky accused of sexual assault

TV personality apologizes, quits as president of Israel Gay Youth nonprofit, after 2 men are quoted alleging he assaulted them in recent years

Gay rights activist Gal Uchovsky on August 17, 2011. (Yossi Zeliger/ FLASH90/ File)
Gay rights activist Gal Uchovsky on August 17, 2011. (Yossi Zeliger/ FLASH90/ File)

The Kan public broadcaster on Monday published testimonies of two men who say that screenwriter and producer Gal Uchovsky, one of the most prominent LGBT rights activists in Israel, sexually assaulted them in recent years.

Uchovsky, a popular TV personality, reacted to the exposé by apologizing and saying he would be stepping down as president of IGY – Israel Gay Youth, a leading nonprofit organization serving LGBTQ youth in Israel.

Kan published two testimonies from anonymous members of the LGBT community.

The first man claimed that Uchovsky assaulted him a year and a half ago during a prearranged sexual encounter between them, during which the IGY chairman violated the boundaries the two had agreed upon previously.

“It happened from the first moment,” he says. “Some button was switched and he communicated like an animal, not like a human. More than five times, he tried to forcibly flip me over, to insert his fingers inside of me, to touch and to reach that area in every way possible.”

The complainant told Kan that he clearly stated his refusal, but that Uchovsky did not stop.

A second complainant told the broadcaster that, several years ago, during a work meeting with Uchovsky, the latter suddenly “leaped at me and started kissing me.”

“I tried to shove him away. He forced himself on me despite my objection, until he finished,” the second complainant recalled.

In response, Uchovsky said he was not aware that the first man had not consented and apologized “out of understanding and sensitivity.” He said he did not receive sufficient details to comment on the second testimony, but “once that’s the feeling, he also apologizes to the second complainant.”

“As someone who has dedicated his life to the [LGBT] community, Gal has decided that his responsibility compels him to stop his service as president of IGY,” said a statement on Uchovsky’s behalf. “The organization is his life’s work, and he doesn’t want this great organization to be stained.”

In its own response to the report, IGY said it had accepted Uchovsky’s resignation.

“We hope that the events described in the investigation will be quickly clarified. The last few years have brought a new spirit creating a safety net for complainants. This spirit must also enter the LGBT community and we, as the leading and largest organization in charge of thousands of volunteers, take it upon ourselves to play a significant role in building and changing the discourse [on this issue],” IGY added.

“Our digital hotlines are open and our instructors are attentive to anyone who would like to talk, share, or consult about these matters and any issue related to them. We are committed to full confidentiality and immediate clarification of any complaint,” the group said.

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