Previously this month, the József Katona Theatre revealed that a colleague of theirs had been fired for morally inappropriate behaviour towards co-workers. Later, Péter Gothár came forward with his identity and issued a public apology.
The theatre posted a statement on their Facebook page, announcing the firing of a then-unnamed worker on November 19th. They said in the post that a colleague “behaved in ways trespassing moral boundaries with the theatre’s employees.” The management offered psychological help to all those involved who may need it.
In the afternoon of November 20th, the theatre published another statement, this time written by Péter Gothár himself.
“A year ago, I approached a female co-worker of mine in the theatre in a morally inexcusable way. A few days later, I apologised and was forgiven,” he wrote, asking the public to forgive him as well.
The two statements are contradictory. The one by the theatre suggests multiple misbehaviours, while the one Gothár wrote only apologises for one, which happened a year ago. The University of Theatre and Film Arts, where Gothár is a professor, stated that Gothár himself requested an ethical examination.
One may question: why did they not come forward with the case before? Was there one or more misconducts? Why did they wait a year to fire Gothár if they had knowledge about several cases? How many women did Gothár harass? Have there been legal steps taken against Gothár?
Since the case blew up, the theatre has cancelled a play directed by Gothár, stopping it from being performed, informing fans that their already purchased tickets can and will be refunded.
The “Gothár-case” has also spread, and now the director of the theatre is also involved. Of course, how could he not be when one of his employees committed such an act, and said act was only brought to light a year later?
Gábor Máté’s response to any questions at first was nothing but silence. But on November 27th, a week after the big revelation, an interview with 24.hu was published. Máté admits to knowing about the abuse almost immediately after it had happened. He says he investigated the case, asked both the victim and Gothár about it, and their stories seemed to align. According to Máté, the victim did not want to take any legal action, nor come forward even to her colleagues about what had happened. By not doing anything, Máté says he was just respecting her decision.
“Let’s say unwanted advances took place,” Máté describes the events, not wanting to reveal any details as to honour the victim’s wishes. He says he regrets not going to the work council with what happened.
According to Máté, the victim turned to the council 11 months after the incident. The council took the appropriate measures immediately, and thus Gothár was fired.
When asked why the initial statement did not mention Gothár’s name, Máté answered that revealing the perpetrator could have led to lawsuits against the theatre. They asked Gothár to allow them to include his name in the statement, but he refused.
24.hu also asked Máté about the difference in the number of advances in the two statements. He answered: “[Gothár] only admits to one. The other one was a verbal approach, and Gothár denies it.”
Máté says he did not answer any questions or issued any statements before because he already viewed the case as closed. He did not expect so much online backlash, and so he felt he needed to speak out.
Átrium will keep Vaknyugat (The Lonesome West) directed by Gothár on their January program, as the misconduct did not happen in their theatre.
Source: Daily News Hungary