Veteran actor Ben Vereen‘s name began trending earlier today after a group of actresses came forth accusing him of sexual assault and other improper acts. The alleged incidents took place in 2015 during a Florida production of the popular stage play, Hair.
New York Daily News reports:
The women — part of the Venice Theatre production outside of Tampa — say Vereen forced unwanted kisses, hugged them aggressively, stripped naked during an acting exercise and made degrading comments about their weight, sex appeal and personal lives.
Two of the actresses told the Daily News that Vereen lured them to his Florida rental home on separate occasions in September 2015 under the guise of “private rehearsals.” Then he pressed his erect penis into their legs without warning.
Kaitlyn Terpstra was 22 years old at the time. The other actress, who asked to be identified by only her first name, Kim, was 23 years old.
The Tony Award-winning actor, now 71, issued a statement to the Daily News asking for an apology.
“I would like to apologize directly to the female cast members of the musical ‘Hair’ for my inappropriate conduct when I directed the production in 2015,” Vereen told the outlet.
The blog OnStage initially broke the story.