Volksbühne artistic director Klaus Dörr quits over sexism allegations

Following allegations reported at the weekend, Dörr said he would be leaving the Mitte theatre on Tuesday. 

Klaus Dörr
Klaus DörrBerliner Zeitung/Benjamin Pritzkuleit

Berlin-Klaus Dörr, artistic director of the Volksbühne, has resigned amid accusations of sexist and abusive behaviour by female co-workers. In a Monday statement, Dörr said he accepts "complete responsibility" for the alleged actions.

The city's left-wing taz newspaper reported that 10 female employees had lodged complaints about Dörr to Berlin's culture department - sparking an official investigation. The 60-year-old is accused of sexist and misogynistic remarks, making aggressive advances and casting lewd looks towards women.

"I deeply regret if I have offended staff members with my behaviour, words or looks." Furthermore, he regrets "that I have not succeeded in creating an open and discrimination-sensitive climate that quickly recognises problems and enables staff members to confidentially submit their questions, complaints and criticism to the necessary offices that existin at the Volksbühne."

Few accusations of improper advances by men in positions of power surfaced in Germany during the height of the global #metoo movement in 2017 but in the last few days that has changed. Director Dieter Wedel was charged with rape earlier this month in connection with accusations that arose several years ago.

Two accusations in a week

And Julian Reichelt, the  editor-in-chief at tabloid Bild, Saturday asked to be relieved of his duties while Bild owner Axel Springer investigated compliance issues against the controversial 40-year-old. Seven women reportedly made accusations that he had abused his position at the paper to bully and coerce.

The Volksbühne's Dörr Monday said his resignation was in agreement with the city's culture department. The accusations were also part of a meeting of the culture committee in the Berlin state parliament, which began the moment Dörr's press release was sent out.

Dörr said he would be available to assist in the handover but that Tuesday would be his last day at the job.