(photo credit: GADI DAGON/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Famed actor Moshe Ivgy publicly responded on Sunday evening to allegations of sexual assault insisting that he never “intentionally hurt anyone.”
At the conclusion of his play in Tel Aviv, Ivgy took to the stage in front of the audience and said “my family is going through difficult times.”
“I have respect for all people, I respect all the men and women with whom I’ve worked,” he said.
Ivgy told the audience he did not want to address the allegations against him in the media and said he would cooperate with the investigation.
“Thank you all,” he concluded and the crowd erupted into applause.
Earlier on Sunday, police announced they were launching an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against the actor, days after a report was published by Walla that six women who formerly worked with Ivgy said that he sexually harassed them.
Orit Sulitzeanu, director of the Association for Rape Crisis Centers in Israel spoke to Israel Radio’s Reshet Bet on Monday and criticized the Haifa Theater – reiterating a call she made on Sunday to immediately suspend Ivgy until the police investigation is concluded.
“The theater is funded by public money and it cannot ignore the line of women who testified about the alleged harassment by Ivgy,” she told Reshet Bet.
She added that the round of applause for Ivgy and the fact that the Haifa Theater was keeping silent only served to relay a “disturbing message” ignoring the new reality.
On the heels of the scandal, MK Sharren Haskel (Likud) in collaboration with Lahav, the umbrella organization for the self-employed and small and medium businesses, announced on Monday a new bill that would amend the current legislation on sexual harassment, which currently does not include self-employed or volunteer workers.
Twenty-four female MKs from across the political spectrum signed on to the bill, which has been circulating for more than a month and is set to go to the ministerial committee for legislation soon.
The bill seeks to amend the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Law of 1998 to include self-employed workers and volunteers.
To date, while the law protects the rights of employees, it completely ignores the economic dependence and labor relations prevailing between independent workers and employers. As such, it does not protect these workers from sexual harassment under the law.
“The distinction in the law between an employee and an independent worker or volunteer is fertile ground for employers to take advantage of the disparity of forces arising from the economic dependence of the independent worker, even if there are no direct subordination relations.
In a reality where sexual harassment is frequently reported, we must act to eradicate the phenomenon,” said Haskel.
Adv. Roey Cohen, president of Lahav, said the bill seeks to “correct a distortion in the law” that discriminates between salaried employees and self-employed workers.
“A civilized state must provide protection to employees wherever they are. It cannot be that a self-employed worker is abandoned to sexual harassment without an address [to turn to],” he said.
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