Actor Michael Coleman will not attend Once Upon A Time fan convention after harassment allegation
Coleman says he does not want to be 'a distraction' at Vancouver event in March
Actor Michael Coleman will not attend a convention in March for the hit filmed-in-Vancouver TV series Once Upon a Time where he plays a dwarf called Happy, following a sexual harassment allegation.
Creation Entertainment, an American company that organizes fan conventions for various film and TV programs, said Coleman announced he would no longer take part in the March 16-18 farewell fan event in Vancouver, where the show is wrapping up.
The company published a statement from Coleman on its website that says, "It is incredibly heartbreaking to think anyone could accuse me of taking advantage of my position in life or the areas of trust imbued upon me. I adamantly deny any wrongdoing and I am confident the truth will be revealed soon."
The statement continued: "...out of the incredible respect I have for Creation Entertainment, the cast of Once Upon a Time, and the fans of this magical project I believe it is best if I withdraw from the Vancouver convention so as to not be a distraction of any kind."
On Wednesday, CBC News reported that Coleman has stepped down from the private arts institute he co-owned after an allegation of sexual harassment emerged dating back to 2009.
Officials with SchoolCreative: Institute of the Arts issued a statement to CBC News saying that the allegation against Michael Coleman does not involve any students of the school and predates his involvement with SchoolCreative.
No other details about the alleged incident were revealed.
CBC news has confirmed that Coleman was a voluntary signatory to a new code of conduct for teachers and instructors, put together by the Union of British Columbia Performers (UBCP) in January.
UBCP/ACTRA is an autonomous branch of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), an organization of professional performers with about 6,000 members in B.C., and 22,000 members across Canada.
The code was established after a series of Vancouver townhalls were set up where people in the entertainment industry could voice concerns. The meetings were for both women and men to speak out in the wake of allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo social media movement.
"The code is a promise of behaviour from the date of signing," said Sue Brouse, director of member services and human resources at UBCP/ACTRA. "Emerging performers were potentially vulnerable to established teachers."
Brouse also pointed out that schools would have their own codes of conduct and that the UBCP does not govern schools.
There are no legal proceedings currently underway involving Coleman. The CBC has not independently verified any of the allegations against him.
In a previous statement to CBC News, Coleman called the allegation "unfounded," and said he stepped down because of a shareholder dispute. He said because the school's investigation was not completed, he did not have an opportunity to respond to the complaint.
"I am confident I have done nothing wrong," he said.