January 4, 2018 / 6:22 PM / a year ago

German TV director denies sexual harassment allegations

FILE PHOTO: German film director Dieter Wedel is pictured during an interview with Reuters following a screening of his new TV movie "Mein alter Freund Fritz" at a theater in Hamburg January 16, 2007. REUTERS/Christian Charisius/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - German TV director Dieter Wedel has denied accusations of sexual harassment and assault in Germany’s first such case since a scandal involving Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein unleashed a global wave of abuse allegations in the entertainment and media worlds.

The 75-year-old Wedel, who made several hit German TV series, was accused in the magazine of Die Zeit weekly by actresses Patricia Thielemann and Jany Tempel of sexual assault in separate incidents in his hotel rooms in 1991 and 1996.

Wedel denied the allegations in a statement issued by his lawyers and published on the website of the Bad Hersfeld theatre festival that he has run since 2015.

“The allegations made against him by several actresses are inaccurate and unjustified. He has never been violent in any way to these or any other women,” the lawyers’ statement said.

The lawyers said he regretted that he had sometimes subjected actors and actresses to tough and even insulting criticism on set, but said that this never had any connection to the alleged attacks.

As many women around the world and some men shared accounts of harassment in the wake of abuse allegations against Weinstein, Wedel said in November he himself had been harassed by gay directors and actors as a young man but had resisted.

Weinstein, accused of sexual harassment by more than 50 women, has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.

Reporting by Emma Thomasson; editing by Mark Heinrich

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