1. News

Israel Horovitz, playwright with Tampa ties, accused of sexual misconduct by 9 women

Playwright Israel Horovitz at his apartment in New York, Aug. 11, 2014. A total of nine women have come forward publicly for the first time to describe a pattern of sexual abuse and violations of trust by Horovitz, a man they considered a mentor and friend. (Richard Perry/The New York Times)
Published Nov. 30, 2017

Famed playwright Israel Horovitz has been accused of sexual misconduct by nine women, according to a New York Times story published Thursday.

Horovitz has ties to Tampa, after forging a close relationship with Jobsite Theater, the resident theater company of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. He has written more than 70 plays and created films starring Maggie Smith and Al Pacino. Horovitz was scheduled to come back to Tampa to produce Man in Snow in March.

On Thursday, Jobsite leaders decided to cancel that play. The theater will spend the next few weeks finding an alternative production.

The New York Times report has accounts from nine women who accuse Horovitz of offenses ranging from groping to unwanted kissing and fondling to rape. The women described a pattern in which Horovitz had been a mentor and a friend in the theater, but also preyed on them. They were inspired to come forward by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K. and others.

Horovitz, who split time among New York, Massachusetts and Paris, came to Florida seeking warmth, he told the Tampa Bay Times in a 2015 interview. In 2010, he brought his play Sins of the Mother to Florida Stage in Manalapan.

He sent an email to Jobsite's producing artistic director, David Jenkins, and started a relationship with the professional theater. Jobsite produced a staged reading of Sins of the Mother in 2015. Horovitz spent a week in residence with Jobsite, and did a Q?&?A and book signing. It led to future collaborations.

Jenkins bonded with Horovitz, talking to him on the phone nearly every week. The playwright has given invaluable advice about running a theater company, working with boards, even offering feedback on Jenkins' own acting and directing.

On Thursday, Jenkins had been teaching an epistemology class at the University of South Florida when his phone started vibrating with alerts from friends about the story.

"This is clearly horrifying news," Jenkins said shortly after learning about the report. "I'm reacting the way anyone would be reacting to hearing this news a half-hour ago about a hero. I'm disturbed. It's crushing."

Horovitz's five children include Adam Horovitz, or Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys, and Rachael Horovitz, the film producer behind Moneyball. His wife, Gillian Adams-Horovitz, is a long-distance runner and former English National Marathon champion.

According to the New York Times, Horovitz, 78, said that while he has "a different memory of some of these events, I apologize with all my heart to any woman who has ever felt compromised by my actions, and to my family and friends who have put their trust in me. To hear that I have caused pain is profoundly upsetting, as is the idea that I might have crossed a line with anyone who considered me a mentor."

Adam Horovitz told the New York Times in a statement: "I believe the allegations against my father are true, and I stand behind the women that made them."

Israel Horovitz had a major impact on Jobsite Theater, which he also visited for a rehearsal of his play Lebensraum in 2016.

For its current season, Jobsite had selected Man in Snow, Horovitz's play set in Alaska about a grieving father who must act as a tour guide.

"My heart is broken right now," Jenkins said in a statement released later Thursday. "I am absolutely gutted. Israel has become like a father to me over the past few years, and I have learned more from him than I can possibly put into words right now. To say I feel betrayed would be a gross understatement, and my heart goes out to the victims who have lived with this for so many years and the pain they must be experiencing all over again."

Jenkins said he never had an inkling Horovitz had a dark, secret side. Neither had Katrina Stevenson, an artistic associate at Jobsite and a former board member. Stevenson had been an admirer of Horovitz since her college days nearly 25 years ago, when the theater student performed in his play The Widow's Blind Date. The play is about a woman's sustained trauma from being gang-raped.

"I was captivated by the raw vulnerability and power that he writes with," Stevenson said.

Stevenson also performed in Jobsite's production Lebensraum. Learning of the allegations against Horovitz, she said, was "a blow to the gut. As much as I would like to go, 'Oh, but look at all the work he has given us, all of the people he has helped on their way' — or, 'But people make mistakes …?' — you cannot give him a pass. Sexual assault is sexual assault. And that is especially true when you are in the position of mentor or director. That is the ultimate betrayal."

It is unclear whether Jobsite is through with Horovitz's work for good.

"The timing right now is simply not right to produce Man in Snow," Jenkins said. "It would be entirely insensitive to the nine women who came forward and who have been ignored for almost three decades. I don't believe in erasing an artist or their work. If anything, we should take the opportunities like that to have conversations about hard things, but wounds have to heal first for that to even be possible."

Contact Andrew Meacham at or
(727) 892-2248. Follow @torch437.


  1. Lawanda Ravoira, DPA, president & CEO, Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center, said girls are subject to an alarming rate of violence and bullying and are not getting the help they need from counseling and other social services. CHRISTOPHER O'DONNELL  |  Times
    Leader of Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center comes to Tampa to warn of “unchecked crisis” of violence and victimization of middle and high school girls.
  2. This rendering shows Scientology's proposed L. Ron Hubbard Hall, a 3,600-seat auditorium with an all-glass facade at the corner of Garden Avenue and Court Street in downtown Clearwater. [Courtesy City of Clearwater]
    Plans for L. Ron Hubbard Hall go back 26 years. If constructed, it would have more seats than Clearwater’s Ruth Eckerd Hall.
  3. Classic Reflections Carriages is offering carriage rides starting at 6 p.m. Dec. 19-21 throughout downtown Brooksville. Reservations are made in person on each event date, starting at 4 p.m., in front of the historic courthouse. Brooksville Main Street
    Holiday events in Pasco and Hernando counties
  4. A huge number of homes owned by Baby Boomers will sell in the next 20 years. How will the trend affect the Florida housing market? CAMERON GILLIE  |  NAPLES DAILY NEWS
    The enormous generation born between 1946 and 1964 owns about 40 percent of the homes across the country.
  5. A Brinks security guard was shot during a robbery attempt at a GTE Financial credit union in Brandon Friday morning. TONY MARRERO  |  Times
    Deputies thought they had the suspect pinned down at the Bridgeport Apartments, but he fled.
  6. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The motorcycle was headed south on Dale Mabry, while the northbound bus was making a turn.
  7. Police are seen outside a home at 5342 22nd Ave. N Friday in St. Petersburg. Stanley Jones, inset, is accused of stabbing two women at 22nd Avenue North and 53rd Street. One woman died from her injuries and the other was hospitalized. [URSO, CHRIS | Tampa Bay Times] CHRIS URSO | Times; St. Petersburg Police Department
    Police arrested Stanley Jones just after the stabbing Friday on 22nd Avenue N.
  8. President Donald Trump speaks during a small business roundtable in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Friday, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) EVAN VUCCI  |  AP
    It’s another sign Donald Trump has accepted that he is likely to be impeached by the House.
  9. In this Dec. 5 photo authorities investigate the scene of a shooting in Miramar, Fla. The FBI says several people, including a UPS driver, were killed after robbers stole the driver’s truck and led police on a chase that ended in gunfire at a busy South Florida intersection during rush hour. (Taimy Alvarez/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP) TAIMY ALVAREZ  |  AP
    A lawyer for the union where Rick Cutshaw worked said Cutshaw had just left his office before being killed. “He was going home.”
  10. In this Dec. 4, 2019 file photo, Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives at U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Musk did not defame a British cave explorer when he called him “pedo guy” in an angry tweet, a Los Angeles jury found Friday. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File) MARK J. TERRILL  |  AP
    Vernon Unsworth had angered the Tesla CEO by belittling his effort to help in the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped for weeks in a Thailand cave as a “PR stunt.”