Festival chief resigns after ‘me-too’ complaint

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The long-time director of the annual Bergen International Festival, Anders Beyer, had to resign this week after the festival’s board of directors reported that they no longer had confidence in him. His surprise and immediate departure came after the board had received what its leader described as a “me-too” complaint.

Anders Beyer, who is Danish, had been director of the Bergen International Festival since 2012. PHOTO: Wikimedia

The complaint, that Beyer had used his position to try to establish a relationship deemed “offensive,” prompted the board to hire the Hjort law firm to carry out an external investigation. The law firm’s report was delivered September 17 and, according to the festival’s board, confirmed the content of the complaint.

The identity of the alleged vicitim was not made public. Festival board leader Thorhild Widvey, a former government minister, stressed, though, that it did not involve a festival employee. She would not further detail the nature of the complaint, but told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) on Wednesday that it was “a me-too complaint,” indicating it involved sexual harassment.

Local newspaper Bergens Tidende and other media have tried to obtain comment from Beyer, who’s officially now on sick leave, without success. His contract from 2012 provides 12 months of severance pay, equal to NOK 1.9 million (USD 220,000).

Widvey called it “a sad day” for the festival (Festspillene), which attracts international artists and attention every May. “This affects all of us who work for the festival and are proud of the festival,” Widvey said. “Anders has been a competent and creative leader, that’s why I’m sorry that his engagement has ended in this manner.”

newsinenglish.no staff