A number of actresses have spoken out against abuse they faced when working with popular actor/director George Kimoulis, who is being accused of psychological and verbal abuse by women he has worked with.

Actress Zeta Douka was the first to speak up in an interview with MEGA channel, where she said  that she had been kicked and verbally assaulted during their theatre collaboration in the play, ‘Pio Konta’ (Closer Togeher). She spoke of many instances of abuse both on and off stage with the director lashing out against her in anger.

“One night, when Athens was burning due to the incidents surrounding (the killing of student Alexis Grigoropoulos), he sent a colleague to tell me to go on stage and tell people that the staging is being cancelled. When I went and asked him why he wouldn’t go out as the head (of the production), he abused me, he kicked me and said ‘OK, we’re going on the third bell’,” she said. “I put my self-respect beneath the theatre.”

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Actress Alexandra Tavoulari said that Mr Kimoulis’ behaviour towards her put so much pressure that it caused her to doubt herself. “I was also terrorised, afraid, full of self-doubt about my ability to act, and the source of all these feelings in my place of work was the same man – George Kimoulis,” she said, adding that she turned to pills to help cope with the pressure exerted upon her.

She said that the reason it took her so long to speak up was because she no longer feels frightened to express herself, knowing that there are others after having heard other women’s stories.

Actress Evdokia Roumelioti had spoken about her difficult collaboration with Mr Kimoulis in the past, however she said that, at the time, it had been overlooked. Following the accusations of Ms Douka, however, the issue of his behaviour towards female actresses has once again entered the spotlight.

“It was one of the worst experiences of my life,” Ms Roumelioti said, blaming problems caused to her vocal chords on the situation. “I was so very happy about this presentation when I started rehearsals. Everything was wonderful at rehearsals. Everything began the first time we went onstage. This man psychologically abused me. Following our collaboration, I was afraid to go on stage. While performing he abused me shamefully. I was on the stage and he would come behind me and I was unable to bear the words he would whisper in my ear. When I spoke to the artistic director (Lakis Lazopoulos) and asked why he was behaving in such a way when he had chosen me (for the role).”

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She said that it was the first time she was unable to end the season, and Mr Lazopoulos understood and told her that mental health should be above all. “During the break, I was afraid to stay in my dressing room and I would go and sit in the toilets before time was up for me to go on stage,” she said.

Like Ms Roumelioti, actress Katerina Papoutsaki said she also had psychosomatic issues to deal with following her collaboration with Mr Kimoulis at the Athinon theatre in 2007, in the same theatre production from which Ms Roumeliotis had departed a year earlier. Speaking to Ladylike.gr, Ms Papoutsaki said there was no physical abuse but aggressive and condescending behaviour towards her. “I lost my voice for a period and had stomache problems,” she said.

Following the public accusations against Mr Kimoulis, Katerina Geronikolou took to Instagram and accused Mr Kimoulis of workplace bullying. “You scared me. You frightened me… You made me not believe in myself. You, who gave me the role. You made me gamble as to whether I would recover from our ‘collaboration’,” she wrote, accompanied by a poster from the presentation, ‘Don Juan, the return’, in which she performed with Mr Kimoulis.

She thanked Ms Douka for speakig up and giving other actresses the courage to share their experiences.

Fay Xyla spoke on the talk show Eftyhite, stating that the two productions where she collaborated with Mr Kimoulis were “the most difficult and perhaps the worst collaborations” she has had. “From there, I placed boundaries, and the result was that we had a collaboration without any contact,” she said. “There was no discussion. The collaboration ended, very difficulty. I consider it unacceptable for anyone to exploit his position as a director or troupe leader.”

Ms Xyla said that it is unacceptable for anyone to suffer verbal and physical abuse at work, and added that she had problems of a different nature.