Accusations of Sexual Harassment in Sketch Comedy

Chicago, Illinois is renowned for its sketch comedy scene, and has spawned comedians such as Bill Murray, John Belushi and Tina Fey. Now IO Theater, one of the largest Improv Comedy Schools is reeling from accusations of sexual harassment by female performers.

Incidents of unwanted sexual advances by men in positions of authority have been made by performers such as Julia Weiss, Belinda Woolfson and Beth Stelling.  These women have come forward to discuss how directors have asked them out on dates and if they do not respond favorable, the director would take their acting parts.  In addition, incidents of unwanted physical contact, such as “jokingly” rubbing their faces in a female’s breasts are common.

IO Theater has reacted to these concerns by seeking to find third party Human Resources training to educate performers and employees on what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

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