Benny Fredriksson is said to have taken his own life earlier this week after resigning from his position as head of the Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, Stockholm’s arts and culture centre, due to sexual misconduct actions that have turned out to be false.
Fredriksson came under fire last December by Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet which reported that he had let male actors sexually harass female actors, had pushed a woman into having an abortion, and turned the city theatre into a personal “dictatorship”.
Earlier this week, the official website of Kulturhuset Stadsteatern put out a press release confirming that Fredriksson had taken his own life while on a trip to Sydney, Australia, and laid some of the blame on the #MeToo movement media whirlwind that forced him to resign in December.
“After deciding to live and develop Kulturhuset Stadsteatern for 16 years, Benny Fredriksson abruptly abandoned his life’s work as a result of a boundless media campaign. It was both terribly sad and unfair. With him, it created a wound that could not heal. It’s a big tragedy,” Sture Carlsson, CEO of the city theatre, said.
A report from Swedish broadcaster SVT now claims that the allegations of sexual misconduct made against Fredriksson may have been totally false. After the allegations from Aftonbladet, the city of Stockholm conducted its own investigation into the matter and shared some findings with the theatre claiming that they could find no evidence of sexual misconduct on the part of Fredriksson.
Malin Marcusson, a communications officer in Stockholm City, said that 135 people were interviewed during the investigation which lasted several months and that the full report will be published in the coming weeks.
In Sweden, the #MeToo movement has seen establishment media employees embroiled in scandal. The Swedish police even credited the #MeToo movement with a 33 per cent increase in reported sex attacks in November of 2017.
The movement has not been without its critics, however, as some celebrities have spoken out against the potential danger of false accusations. Last week, actress Sharon Stone slammed the movement saying: “I don’t feel like these trials without due process are entirely appropriate.”