Actresses allege the 71-year-old actor would forcefully kiss and hug them (sometimes with an erect penis), strip naked, and invite them to his home for “private rehearsals,” where he would coerce them into performing sexual acts.
Two women in particular — Kaitlyn Terpstra, now 24, and Kim, 23 — both say Vereen lured them into his hot tub naked and forced himself on them.
“He gave this whole speech about how nudity was not inherently sexual. ‘That’s not what it’s about.’ He made me feel that if I wasn’t mature enough to understand that, I wasn’t mature enough to be in ‘Hair.'”
“He basically told both of us, ‘Get over yourself. Nudity doesn’t have to be sexual.’ If we asked questions or hesitated, we were the ones making it weird.”
Kim also claimed the longtime actor asked her to perform oral sex while in the hot tub, which she did:
“I just think at the time, I didn’t feel like I had a choice. I didn’t want to do it, but I was intimidated and scared. He was being very intense and angry. He seemed very angry and offended. I had seen him behave this way toward others in the tribe during circle. I just felt powerless because I thought I really needed his help and guidance. And when he said nudity doesn’t have to be sexual, I was like, ‘OK, maybe this isn’t even sexual.’ Now I understand it was a power play. It was so calculated. It was like we were putty in his hands.”
She later became involved in a relationship with Vereen, during which one night she says he began having sex with her while she was sleeping.
A third actress, Ariella Pizarro, also reported Vereen pressing his penis against her and kissing her without permission:
“We were in a music rehearsal, and he was just walking around, and then he walked up and kissed me on the lips. It was so weird. We all knew ‘Hair’ was going to be a different kind of production, like in the 60s, but he didn’t even ask first. He just kissed me. I was shocked, for sure.”
Vereen has since apologized for his disturbing behavior, telling the outlet:
“I would like to apologize directly to the female cast members of the musical Hair for my inappropriate conduct when I directed the production in 2015. While it was my intention to create an environment that replicated the themes of that musical during the rehearsal process, I have since come to understand that it is my conduct, not my intentions, which are relevant here. So I am not going to make any excuses because the only thing that matters here is acknowledging and apologizing for the effects of my conduct on the lives of these women. Going forward, my having come to terms with my past conduct will inform all my future interactions not only with women, but with all individuals. I hope these women will find it in their hearts to accept my sincere apology and forgive me.”
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[Image via Rob Rich/WENN.]