Amid sexual harassment allegations, Brian Posen resigns from Stage 773

Thursday, 23 November 2017, 12:06:02 PM. 'If I have ever unintentionally offended anyone by saying anything improper, which in turn hurt or offended anyone, I profusely apologize,' said Posen

Following his suspension in March from the Second City Training Center where he had served as improv program director, and after stepping down from his post as executive producer of Chicago’s Sketchfest comedy festival, Brian Posen officially resigned from Stage 773 — the theater/event space he founded a decade ago and where he held the title of creative director — via a Facebook statement.

The move comes amid sexual harassment allegations made against Posen by former collaborators, colleagues and students.

“Over my 30 year career, I have taught, directed and mentored over 15,000 aspiring artists. To have successfully mentored thousands of individuals and now have had these allegations being made has been deeply saddening to me personally,” Posen’s statement said, in part.

According to the Reader, “his sister, Laura Michaud, remains the chair of the Stage 773 board and the theater is funded, in part, by the Posen Family Foundation.”

Chicago Women’s Funny Festival co-founder Jill Valentine, a longtime associate of Posen’s is reportedly taking the reins at Stage 773, according to Posen’s statement.

In his statement, Posen issued an apology, saying: “I want to say strongly that if I have ever unintentionally offended anyone by saying anything improper, which in turn hurt or offended anyone, I profusely apologize. That was certainly not my intent as I have enormous respect for artists. I would never intentionally use my position in an unethical or unprofessional manner.”

Here is Posen’s complete Facebook statement:

“I’m reaching out to my community of friends and followers to share what is the saddest day of my career. I never thought I would see this day nor could I have imagined it. Today I am stepping down as Creative Director of Stage 773.

Recently, there have been some individuals who have stated negative things about me on social media maintaining that I was inappropriate. I want to say strongly that if I have ever unintentionally offended anyone by saying anything improper, which in turn hurt or offended anyone, I profusely apologize. That was certainly not my intent as I have enormous respect for artists. I would never intentionally use my position in an unethical or unprofessional manner. I love the arts and have dedicated my life to the arts. Over my 30 year career, I have taught, directed and mentored over 15,000 aspiring artists. To have successfully mentored thousands of individuals and now have had these allegations being made has been deeply saddening to me personally.

Any fan or student of comedy knows that comedy stretches boundaries to a point where a joke may be funny to some and not to others. I have reflected and all that I can say is that I sincerely apologize if I ever stretched those boundaries where I have made anyone feel uncomfortable.

I have led Stage 773 since its inception ten years ago. This organization is much bigger than me. Stage 773 has a seasoned team of over 50 dedicated, passionate employees; hundreds of wonderful artistic companies have performed the highest quality work in its four spaces, and multiple national fests have been launched that have brought together acclaimed artists from around the world to perform before over 15,000 people annually. The mission at Stage 773 has always been to offer a home for artists from diverse backgrounds and all types of genres to learn, grow, and perform.

I feel that due to the comments online about me being shared at this time, I am more of a distraction right now from the great and important work that is put forth by the many talented individuals that are a part of Stage 773. Therefore, I have made the decision to turn over the leadership reins to Jill Valentine, a seasoned professional, who has been with the theater since its inception. Jill is committed to insuring that Stage 773 will always be a space where all performers can thrive and create great art in a respectful and nurturing atmosphere.

I also want to thank so many of you who have reached out to offer me your support and share kind words; it is deeply appreciated.”

The 2018 edition of Sketchfest is slated to run Jan. 11-21.

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