The #MeToo movement that gained popularity after numerous sexual assault allegations were brought against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein last year, and while it opened the doors for abuse victims to come forward across the world, Germany is being hit with their first major entertainment industry accusations with reports against famed TV director Dieter Wedel.
Wedel, known for his award-winning TV productions across Germany, including mini-series hits The Grand Bellheim (1993) and The Shadowman (1996), is facing three separate allegations this week as published in Die Zeit. Two of the three victims, actresses Patricia Thielemann and Jany Tempel, went on the record with their stories while the third chose to remain anonymous.
Thielemann tells Die Zeit that Wedel forced himself on her in her hotel room in 1991, breaking free after sustaining a struggle that led the director to strangle the actress at one point.
Tempel is said to have been lured into Wedel’s hotel room in 1996 after being told she would be going through a casting session. Wearing only a bathrobe, Tempel told Die Zeit that he “grabbed me violently and pushed me against the wall” before throwing her on the bed and raping her.
Wedel released a statement to the newspaper denying the specific allegations, but did claim to have a short consensual affair with Tempel. The director freely admitted that his on-set demeanor can be loud, but his temper is often the result of lack of talent or preparation by actors and not sexual abuse.
The Bad Hersfeld theater festival, which Wedel has been contracted to head through 2022, has gone against the typical response seen in the U.S. by backing the director and his statement denying the reports. A statement released by the festival called the allegations “inaccurate and unjustified”, but also admitted to his harsh attitudes towards the theatre’s actors.