A female vocalist, surnamed Weng (翁), with the Taipei City Symphony yesterday accused a renowned figure in Taiwan’s artistic community, Hsu Po-yun (許博允), of sexually harassing her at a private gathering and alleged that the symphony and the city government had helped cover up the case.
The vocalist said Hsu — the director of the New Aspect Culture Foundation and an adviser to the Taipei City Government and the Taipei City Symphony — had touched her inappropriately during a private gathering at a pub on Aug. 27 and even forcefully kissed her on the lips despite her resistance.
Symphony director Huang Wei-ming (黃維明) and his wife were also at the gathering in the pub, called Fantasy, but did not stop Hsu’s sexual harassment, she said.
Weng added that Huang and Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Taipei Deputy Mayor Chen Wei-jen (陳威仁) had pressured her to refrain from going public with the case and to not file a complaint with the city’s sexual harassment prevention committee.
“Huang told me that that was Hsu’s way of expressing his passion, and that I should not overreact … I’ve been having nightmares since that night and I cannot even wear short sleeves in public now,” she told a press conference.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Lee Ching-yuan (李慶元), who accompanied Weng at the press conference, accused the city government of failing to handle the case properly and urged the committee to initiate an investigation.
“Mr Hsu used his connections and influence in the culture and art industries to make the sexual harassment allegations go away. Even the city government failed to take the case seriously. The independence of the city’s sexual harassment prevention committee has been put under serious doubt,” he said.
Huang dismissed the accusation that he had helped Hsu cover up the case and said Weng had told him that she would not file a complaint with the committee.
“Adviser Hsu is a very passionate person, and I think that could perhaps lead to some misunderstandings,” he said.
When asked to comment on the case later on the council floor, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said the city government had not tried to dismiss the case and that he had instructed the Department of Cultural Affairs to take a closer look at the case.
Tu Tsu-jun (杜慈容), a division chief at Taipei City’s Department of Social Welfare, said the department will ask the Department of Cultural Affairs to provide related information and have the sexual harassment committee look into the case.
At a separate press conference yesterday, Hsu dismissed the accusations, but did not deny having touched Weng’s hands. He insisted on his innocence and said he would file a defamation lawsuit against her.
“If shaking or holding hands counts as sexual harassment, all presidential candidates have committed such a crime by touching the hands of thousands of supporters during their campaigns,” he added.