Wavelength reinstates Jonny Dovercourt as artistic director

An independent investigation found no evidence to support abuse allegations made by an ex-employee

Nearly two months after an ex-employee accused Jonathan Bunce, also known as Jonny Dovercourt, of abuse, the Toronto music scene veteran has been reinstated as artistic director of Wavelength.

Over Canada Day long weekend, allegations made by Dorice Tepley, a former-volunteer-turned-employee who was terminated from the music series and non-profit arts organization in 2015, surfaced on social media. She alleged that Bunce bullied and controlled her during her decade-long tenure with the non-profit.

Wavelength’s 10-member board of directors took swift action and called for an independent inquiry into the allegations. Dovercourt was also asked to step aside.

But now, after Toronto-based Bicknell Mediation conducted a third-party investigation, it was concluded that no evidence supporting those allegations were found.

“In addition to extensive interviews with other employees and community members, as well as a review of communications with the employee in question, an email for additional information was shared with the community, which provided no supporting evidence to these claims,” a news release states.

Sally Lee, who sits on Wavelength’s board, says she hopes the allegations have been put to rest. “We hope to bring everyone who cares about Wavelength together to build a strong future for the organization.”

NOW reached out to Tepley, but she declined to comment unless we agreed before reading it to publish her statement in full.

At the time her accusations were posted on Facebook, Tepley was based in Winnipeg and not planning legal action against the organization. She urged musicians to pull out of Wavelength’s summer music festival, Camp Wavelength, which took place at Fort York on August 18 and 19.

With the inquiry behind him, Bunce, who co-founded the Wavelength music series in 2000, says, “I look forward to continuing to ensure that Wavelength is a safe, positive and inclusive space, and to producing an amazing 2019 season with the input of our community.”

Other claims also arose from Toronto artists, including Lido Pimienta and Simone Schmidt, about compensation and Wavelength’s treatment of artists. 

As promised earlier, Wavelength’s board is still planning to hold a town hall so that community members can voice their concerns and address their hopes for the series in the future. Dean Williams, president of Wavelength’s board, confirms they’re working with Jeanne LeSage of LeSage Arts Management, a human resources specialist with experience in the performing arts sector, to help plan the event.

michelled@nowtoronto.com | @michdas

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