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Editor’s View: Ramin Gray case underlines challenge of balancing fairness and transparency

Director Ramin Gray

A fortnight ago, the results were announced of Actors Touring Company’s disciplinary process into accusations of misconduct against its artistic director Ramin Gray [1]. On the face of things, this ended a procedure that began last November, when an unspecified number of people came forward with complaints about the director’s behaviour.

Neither the precise nature of the complaints nor their severity was made public, but Gray was placed on a leave of absence. After an independent investigation, headed by a lawyer, ATC upheld four complaints of misconduct (by two complainants) against the artistic director and took action by issuing a formal warning. Gray appealed against that outcome, but was unsuccessful. This was when ATC made public its decision to issue the warning.

Actors Touring Company under fire for handling of Ramin Gray harassment investigation [2]

Details of the instances of misconduct have not been made public other than to say that the misconduct was “of a verbal nature”. Other details were not made public “for the sake of all concerned including the complainants”.

In many ways, this makes sense. One wants to protect the complainants throughout what must have been a very difficult process for them. But something has been nagging away at me: I do not know what Gray has been accused of. Even within the boundaries of “verbal misconduct”, there is a huge spectrum.

In public discourse – especially social media – Gray’s alleged offences have fallen under the same umbrella as other allegations of workplace misconduct by men in the entertainment industry. But, broadly speaking, we know what the others have been accused of. In the case of Max Stafford-Clark [3], we know what he is alleged to have said to a female employee that led to Out of Joint’s board forcing him to step down.

As for Kevin Spacey [4], various accusations are in the public domain and we know that some allegations are serious enough for police in the UK and the US to open criminal investigations.

In both cases, we have enough information to make a personal judgement about the severity of their offences and whether the punishment they have received (or in Spacey’s case may in future receive) is appropriate.

But Gray remains in limbo. ATC has not dismissed him – he and the company “remain in discussion about ways forward” – but nor is it clear whether he can work there again. He risks being regarded as unemployable.

Perhaps he deserves this outcome. But I don’t know. And, unless you are one of the very few people to be party to the details of ATC’s investigation, nor do you.