Aydin Aghdashloo, Beneath #MeToo Cloud, Faces Artwork World Repercussions
Representatives of Mr. Aghdashloo and his daughter did not respond to requests for comment sent via email.
Mr. Aghdashloo’s supporters, including some of his former students, have reached out on social media to deny the allegations and share positive memories of their experiences in his workshops. On Wednesday, his 80th birthday, they shared photos from previous parties with Mr. Aghdashloo surrounded by female students and a birthday cake.
“I learned great lessons in life and art from you, happy birthday, dear teacher,” wrote the artist Sanaz Barzegar on her Instagram page with a photo of Mr. Aghdashloo.
In Canada, a petition launched by a handful of women in August has now garnered more than 800 signatures publicly announcing the hugely popular Iranian-Canadian Tirgan Cultural Festival, which is held every year and attended by 160,000 people last year became to no longer invite Mr. Aghdashloo.
The chairman of the board and the board of directors of the festival remained non-binding regarding the allegations.
“Our board has decided that this has nothing to do with Tirgan,” said managing director Mehrdad Ariannejad. “We invite as many artists as possible to our gatherings and performances. Are they going to ask all organizations, all museums around the world, all people who have been in contact with Mr. Aghdashloo to come out and take a stand? “
In 2017 an interview with Mr. Aghdashloo at the festival was published on Tirgan’s YouTube channel.
“Personally, I definitely condemn all violence against women. I have always supported women’s rights, ”Ariannejad said, adding that he believed the accounts should be investigated by an independent judicial authority before any conclusions are drawn. “You can’t go out and judge this person,” he said.
Mr. Ariannejad also owns an art gallery with one of Mr. Aghdashloo’s ex-wives, Fay Athari, in the trendy Distillery District of Toronto. Known as the cultural heart of the city’s small Iranian community, Arta Gallery hosts book launches, art shows, and lectures.
In August, when public allegations were made against Mr. Aghdashloo on Iranian social media, the gallery exhibited works by Aghdashloo for three days and ran art workshops with him saying, “Are you ready for a workshop with a legend?”