This episode of the B-Hive takes a turn toward a difficult subject: Sexual assault. On February 8, 2018, CNN.com published an article entitled “They’re Not Celebrities. Their Voiceover Coach isn’t either. But #MeToo Changed Their Lives.” In that article 16 women were stated as having been assaulted by formerly esteemed New York voiceover coach, Peter Rofé. As of today, March 7, 2018, more than 50 female voice actors have come forward to say that Rofé manipulated them, exposed himself to them, and/or sexually assaulted them, all under the pretense of helping them “find their vulnerability” for the good of their voiceover careers. The process of this manipulation varied among his victims, and each woman’s story is unique. In many cases, he moved slowly – 6 months to a year – to engender his students’ trust. Other times Rofé struck quickly on his prey, as if his behavior was not predatory, but simply an accepted part of his “unique coaching technique.” Every actor knows the value of having a trustworthy and honored coach, and our job as actors is indeed to discover our vulnerability, as we learn to reveal the complexities of the human condition with authenticity, whether on stage, in film, or in the voice over booth.
Voice actors Heather Costa and Becky Poole, both victims of Peter Rofé’s sexual impropriety and abuse, join me in the B-Hive to discuss their particular experiences with him. What we discover is that abuse at the hands of a trusted mentor is difficult to parse, often taking years to do so, and that those on the outside looking in are all too eager to blame the victim.
If you or anyone you know has been victimized by Peter Rofé and you’d like some support, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All communication is treated confidentially.
*photo credit: Kendrick Brinson and Kholood Eid for CNN.