Vancouver actor Michael Coleman is maintaining his innocence in the face of allegations of sexual misconduct from several women.
Coleman was one of three co-owners and a creator of SchoolCreative, which was launched in 2011 and evolved out of a group of actors that Coleman trained. He has appeared in and done voicework for numerous TV series, including playing the dwarf Happy on the TV series Once Upon a Time.
Coleman has since resigned from SchoolCreative and is no longer involved with the company. In a statement, he said "my business partners made it clear that they did not wish to continue our professional relationship".
He has also withdrawn from appearing at Creation Entertainment's Once Upon a Time convention scheduled to be held in Vancouver from March 16 to 18. On February 21, Creation Entertainment published a statement from Coleman announcing he would no longer be participating in the convention "so as to not be a distraction of any kind" in the wake of the allegations.
He added: "I am confident this matter will resolve itself soon and complete transparency will clear up any rumors or misunderstandings."
When the Georgia Straight contacted Coleman by email, he explained that the allegations (which he called "unsubstantiated" in his statement) are based around 2008 and 2009. SchoolCreative had previously issued a statement that confirmed the alleged behaviour took place before his involvement with the company.
Coleman said one of the accusations was investigated by the school in 2011 but was later dismissed due to insufficient evidence.
He said that he was informed in October last year that allegations of professional misconduct had been raised by a female student from his 2009 personal acting class.
According to Coleman, the school conducted an investigation regarding that claim, and this new investigation included allegations from three additional women. Coleman claimed he had requested an external investigation be conducted by an independent third party but it was conducted internally.
Although he said he is "completely supportive of this ground breaking time where equality is taking centre stage and abuses of power are being called into question", he insisted he was not involved in any wrongdoing.
"I will be the first to admit that 10 years ago, if I really reflect, I am sure I said or did things I wish I had done or said differently," he said. "I would also suggest every person I have ever met would say the same thing. But what I know for certain is that I never crossed any lines with anyone who placed me in a position of trust and/or power. I have never abused any alleged power or negatively impacted anyone's career or promised any advances either."
No formal charges have been brought against him.
Although SchoolCreative had previously confirmed Coleman's departure from the school, spokesperson Scott Gamble declined any further comment "out of respect for the complainants and in the interests of protecting everyone’s privacy" when the Georgia Straight contacted the school to confirm Coleman's statements. The Georgia Straight also contacted the Union of B.C. Performers, which represents professional actors in B.C., to verify details of the allegations but has not yet received a response.