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Max Stafford-Clark ‘left Out of Joint over inappropriate behaviour’

Max Stafford-Clark was forced to step down from his former theatre company Out of Joint after a female member of staff complained that he had made inappropriate sexual comments towards her, it has been reported.

Stafford-Clark, who founded Out of Joint in 1993, left the company in September [1] “to focus on his international career”. However, it has now been alleged that the director was forced out after a staff member made a formal complaint about comments he made to her.

Gina Abolins, Out of Joint’s education manager, told the Guardian [2] she had complained about Stafford-Clark’s behaviour in July, after he had said to her: “Back in the day, I’d have been up you like a rat up a drainpipe but now I’m a reformed character. My disability means I’m practically a virgin again.”

The former Royal Court artistic director suffered a stroke in 2006, which left him needing a walking stick and wheelchair.

Stafford-Clark’s former personal assistant, Steffi Holtz, and the playwright Rachel De-lahay also said the director had made inappropriate and sexual comments towards them.

In a statement, Stafford-Clark said he “wholeheartedly” apologised for any inappropriate behaviour towards members of staff, and that it was not his intention to bully or harass.

The statement added that Stafford-Clark’s stroke meant he occasionally lost “the ability to inhibit urges”, leading to “disinhibited and compulsive behaviour”.

“Whilst this is an explanation it isn’t an attempt to dismiss his behaviour and he apologises for any offence caused.”