Ben Vereen Issues Apology After He’s Accused Of Sexual Assault
Nah, yo! Not Uncle Ben too!
Ben Vereen has issued an apology after several young actresses accused him of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
Via NY Daily News:
The women, who first provided statements to Chris Peterson of the blog OnStage before speaking to The News, said they had no idea until recently that Vereen used the same lines on both of them to get them naked in his backyard hot tub.
“He gave this whole speech about how nudity was not inherently sexual. ‘That’s not what it’s about.’ He made me feel that if I wasn’t mature enough to understand that, I wasn’t mature enough to be in ‘Hair,’” Terpstra told The News.
“He basically told both of us, ‘Get over yourself. Nudity doesn’t have to be sexual.’ If we asked questions or hesitated, we were the ones making it weird,” Kim said.
The women said once they got into the hot tub, Vereen began breaking them down with probing personal questions allegedly aimed at reaching creative breakthroughs. This was the same technique he used during rehearsals when he made different cast members, usually women, sit in the center of a circle and discuss their emotional triggers.
“He was acting as my mentor, asking me about my parents, then that same night, he put me on his lap while I was crying, and I felt his erection,” Terpstra recalled.
“He asked me, ‘Feel that?’ It was terrifying. I said, ‘Feel what?’ I wanted to act like I didn’t. I pushed myself off with a laugh. Then later, he asked, ‘Do you think I want to f–k you?’ I said ‘Yes,’ and he got angry. He said, ‘Well, I don’t, and that’s unfortunate.’ He made me feel like I had my mind in the gutter.”
Kim said during her time in the hot tub, things went even further. He asked her to perform oral sex on him. She passively obliged, feeling “confused,” she said.
“I just think at the time, I didn’t feel like I had a choice. I didn’t want to do it, but I was intimidated and scared. He was being very intense and angry. He seemed very angry and offended. I had seen him behave this way toward others in the tribe during circle,” she told The News.
Ben Vereen didn’t deny the accusations. Instead, he issued an apology for “inappropriate conduct.”
Read his full apology below.