01/04/2018 05:00 EST | Updated 01/04/2018 05:21 EST

Four Soulpepper artists resign amid allegations against Albert Schultz

TORONTO — Four Soulpepper Theatre Company artists have resigned in the wake of sexual assault and harassment allegations against founding artistic director Albert Schultz.

A statement says Ted Dykstra, Stuart Hughes, Michelle Monteith and Rick Roberts "support and stand" with the four women who have filed lawsuits against Schultz and the Toronto-based theatre company.

The statement issued by St. Lawrence Barristers LLP adds that the four artists support the selection of Alan Dilworth as Soulpepper's acting artistic director, but until Schultz has no role with the company, they will not work there.

The lawsuits were filed this week by Patricia Fagan, Hannah Miller, Kristin Booth and Diana Bentley, who all agreed to be named publicly.

In the lawsuits, the actresses allege the 54-year-old Schultz exposed himself, groped them, and otherwise sexually humiliated them.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

Schultz, who is also an executive producer on the hit CBC television series "Kim's Convenience," says he will defend himself "vehemently."

The four women who have filed the claims will speak out today at a news conference in Toronto.

Soulpepper's board of directors said Wednesday that Schultz will be off the job pending an investigation and his wife, executive director Leslie Lester, has volunteered to step down in the interim.

The lawsuits come amid a flood of allegations of sexual misconduct that have come out of the entertainment industry and beyond since producer Harvey Weinstein was first accused in October.