Culture minister says was ‘deceived’ by former head of National Theater

Culture minister says was ‘deceived’ by former head of National Theater

Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni said on Friday that she had been “deceived” by Dimitris Lignadis, the former artistic director of the National Theater who resigned earlier this month following allegations of sexual abuse.

Speaking at a virtual press conference, Mendoni said that the ministry started addressing the accusations against Lignadis on Thursday night, after a complaint was filed against him.

“With a profound talent for acting, he tried to convince us that he had no connection to the affair,” Mendoni said of the state-run organization’s former artistic director at the press event, calling him a “dangerous man” if the claims against him are proven.

She also said that she has appealed to a Supreme Court prosecutor to probe all abuse allegations in Greece’s theatrical community. 

The main opposition accused Mendoni of a “major cover-up attempt orchestrated by the government,” noting that the Culture Ministry did not react promptly to the media reports pointing to abuse and failed to initiate its own inquiry into the allegations.

Lignadis was appointed to the position directly by Mendoni in August 2019 after she scrapped an existing open competition for the job, started by the previous SYRIZA administration.

She vehemently dismissed accusations of favoritism, saying that neither she nor Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis were friends with Lignadis.

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