Despite controversy, Lincoln Center says it is conducting an internal inquiry into sexual misconduct

Classical ballet company Lincoln Center came under fire this week after it said it removed one of its artists from its spring dance tour after an investigation by The Washington Post found that actor Harry Hamlin was involved in sexual misconduct.

The Washington Post had learned about the situation from a former dancer in the company, who had filed a complaint against Hamlin, a dancer with the Washington Ballet.

The dancer, who also is a journalist, had sent her complaint to the ballet in December 2017, and the company started investigating in January. An email written by company officials and later sent to dancers said that they had found, “sufficient substantiation” of the dancer’s complaint. According to the Post, company officials told the dancer she was fired for violating company policy.

However, the dancer said she had also been provided with an internal memo that showed she had confirmed that her complaint had been heard and investigated. The memo read: “We may have failed to take immediate action in response to your allegations.” The company did not comment further.

In a statement on Wednesday, Washington Ballet’s board of directors said, “We apologize to the company’s artists and staff. In this deeply upsetting situation, we would like to assure them that they are treated with dignity and respect and will receive individualized attention and guidance as they heal.”

The board confirmed Hamlin had been terminated from the dance company tour, and added, “We will ensure that appropriate consequences follow once they are fully determined.”

Two calls to Lincoln Center for comment were not returned on Friday.

Lincoln Center said it has scheduled an inquiry of its internal procedures surrounding sexual misconduct for its executive and artistic staff. The Washington Post reported this week that at least 13 full-time dancers with the company reported incidents of sexual harassment over the past decade.

“Of course any act of sexual misconduct by anyone in any workplace, particularly one with the mission and history of Washington Ballet, is unacceptable, and such behavior cannot be tolerated,” the statement said.

One week after Lincoln Center said it would investigate, it confirmed that a sitting Washington Ballet dancer had reported that a star employee had sexually harassed the dancer.

The ballet also said in a statement that, “As a member of the board, as the dancer’s employer, we cannot comment further on personnel matters.”

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