A former Royal Ballet choreographer accused of sexual misconduct took his own life following the “humiliation” of the allegations and press reports, according to an investigation.
Liam Scarlett, 35, was told by the Royal Opera House that there were grounds for a disciplinary process.
He left the company in March 2020 and was found by his parents in his Suffolk apartment on April 12 this year.
He suffered cardiac arrest and died in Ipswich hospital four days later.
The Ipswich investigation was told that he suffered a brain injury and his parents, who found him at his Bramford home, agreed to stop treatment due to the poor prognosis.
He had left notes for family members.
Suffolk medical examiner Jacqueline Devonish recorded that he committed suicide and said: “It is clear from his own words that there were feelings of humiliation for everything that happened regarding those allegations.”
Leah Hurst, head of legal and commercial affairs at the Royal Opera House, told the court that the allegations “included inappropriate physical contact during rehearsals and in other contexts, sexual behavior outside the workplace that was deemed inappropriate. [and] casting decisions made improperly “.
“There have also been allegations of drug use,” he said.
Mr. Scarlett trained at the Royal Ballet School from the age of 11, joined the Royal Opera House as a dancer in 2005 and became its artist-in-residence in 2012.
He was initially suspended at full pay in September 2019 while the claims were investigated.
Mr. Scarlett was informed in January 2020 that there were sufficient grounds for disciplinary proceedings, the investigation was heard.
The press that month incorrectly claimed the allegations concerned children, Ms. Hurst said, while a Royal Opera House statement made it clear that “there were no issues in relation to the Royal Ballet School students.”
Further allegations were received via a whistleblowing hotline, according to the investigation.
He said that before the disciplinary process began, Mr. Scarlett approached the Royal Opera House through his lawyers and said he wanted to leave.
“It was a difficult process on all sides,” he said, adding that Scarlett was offered support.
‘Dragged through the press’
Deborah Scarlett, Liam’s mother, said they talked about the claims after they appeared in the press.
“He told me they weren’t true and he couldn’t understand why people would make allegations against him,” he said.
“He was deeply troubled.
“We believe Liam wouldn’t have taken his own life if his name hadn’t been dragged into the press with inaccurate allegations.”
The coroner said Scarlett also “clearly knew” that her production of Frankenstein had been canceled by the Royal Danish Ballet, prior to its announcement on April 16, and that that too may have been a factor.
- The Royal Ballet
The investigation opens into the death of the choreographer
- May 28
English choreographer Liam Scarlett died at 35
- April 17
Choreographer Liam Scarlett leaves the Royal Ballet
- March 23, 2020
Choreographer Scarlett suspended from the Royal Ballet
- January 30, 2020
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