German director resigns as festival chief after abuse claims

BERLIN (AP) — A prolific director of German television dramas has resigned as head of a theater festival following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Dieter Wedel has denied claims by several women that he pressured them for sex. The allegations, first published by respected weekly Die Zeit, mostly date back several decades.

In a statement Monday, the 75-year-old said the allegations had left him “deeply disturbed and shaken,” and damaged his health.

Wedel, who’s best known in Germany as the director of popular TV dramas, is the first prominent figure in the country to be named since the #MeToo movement targeting alleged sexual abusers in the media and the arts emerged last year.

Thomas Fehling, the mayor of the German town Bad Hersfeld that is hosting the theater festival, said he respected Wedel’s decision.

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