Once Upon A Time actor speaks publicly, denies 10-year-old sexual harassment allegations

Once Upon A Time actor speaks publicly, denies 10-year-old sexual harassment allegations
From CBC - March 10, 2018

A Vancouver-based actor, filmmaker and director who stepped down last month from the arts school he co-founded, amid allegations of sexual harassmentthat he says are 10 years old, is denying any wrongdoing and said he's consulting with a defamation lawyer.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the allegations surfaced, Michael Coleman told reporters he has never had inappropriate relations with students or fellow staff membersand called the allegations against him defamatory.

"All the allegations are from 10years ago and this is the next thing to an anonymous attack on my reputation, with no one stepping forward to say publicly that I did anything wrong," said Coleman.

"I am saying publicly that I have done nothing wrong."

A CBC News investigation found 14 instructors at School Creative: Institute of the Arts stepped down in response to the allegations, saying they would only return if Coleman resigned.

The CBC has not independently verified any of the allegations against Coleman.

Colemanwho was once the school's artistic directorsays he is in the middle of selling his sharesand is no longer involved with the school.

He is well known for his role as Happyin the hit TV series Once Upon A time andhas a lengthy career in acting, including roles in series such asSupernatural,SmallvilleandStargateSG-1, in addition to his work as anacting coach.

4 allegations

Standing next to his wife Michelle, Coleman detailed allegations from four women.

The first, he said, was later retractedand did not offer details.

Another allegation, he said, is from a student who alleges Colemanasked her to rehearse her audition in her bikini. He said, he "did nosuch thing" and told reporters they had a discussion over whether there was a requirement for her to wear a bikini during the audition.

Coleman said the same woman alleges he forced her to be naked during the filming of a skinny-dipping scene for a movie he was directing. He also denied that allegation.

Another allegation, Coleman said, is from a student who claims he tried to kiss her during a private coaching session. She also claims he placed her hand on his groin during a breakfast.

"What had actually happened that morning was I had said something funny, the young woman in question reached over to slap my thigh and hit me in the groin," said Coleman

Coleman said another accusation stems from a fan of the show Once Upon a Time who claims he sent her an inappropriate twitter message.

"None of these complaints have resulted in any formal claims. There are no formal investigations. There is nothing civil, criminal, nothing through my union," said Coleman.

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