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

Unique type of rock show at Parksville beach

WATCH: Rock art from youngsters and adults alike on display

Short list for new gnome home includes Parksville, Coombs

Five potential locations have been chosen by Howard’s owners who will decide Tuesday

Parksville’s mystery cowboy revealed

Kevin Gourlay’s horse garners attention for being ‘parked’ outside a liquor store

Qualicum man sentenced for tying up, robbing another man

Gabriel Stephen Nelson robbed and assaulted travelling businessman in 2017

Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash sentenced to eight years

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

Fierce feline spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Anti-discrimination group wants to map offenders with cross-Canada hate atlas

Morgane Oger Foundation issues call for volunteers to help build Canadian Atlas of Populist Extremism

Dump truck driver hurt after highway crash on Vancouver Island

One man airlifted to hospital after collision between dump truck and pickup Friday in Ladysmith

Kater to launch ridesharing service in Vancouver by end of month

The Surrey-based company got its permits from the Vancouver Taxi Association

Second case of measles reported in the B.C. Interior

Case is connected to an earlier measles case in 100 Mile House

Most Read