If you’re not familiar with the world of off-Broadway theater, you may not be familiar with the name Israel Horovitz. But you probably are familiar with his son, Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz, a.k.a. Ad-Rock. The elder Horovitz is a playwright, and the founding artistic director of regional theater company Gloucester Stage. He’s also the subject of a New York Times story published earlier today in which nine women accuse him of sexual assault, among them playwright Jocelyn Meinhardt, who dated the younger Horovitz when the two were in high school.
The accusations against Israel Horovitz, which mostly occurred when the women involved were in their late teens and early 20s, come as no surprise to members of the theater community. Horovitz was even the subject of a similar expose in the Boston Phoenix in 1993, which was dismissed at the time by Barry Weiner, head of the Gloucester Stage board. In Weiner’s words, Horovitz’s accusers were “tightly wound, if you know what I mean.” (The new head of the Gloucester Stage board, Elizabeth Neumeier, apologizes for the belatedness of the theater’s response, saying, “I apologize to the brave women who came forward in 1992 and 1993 but were not listened to.”)
Adam Horovitz, meanwhile, does not reject the accusations against his father, and says in a statement to The New York Times: “I believe the allegations against my father are true, and I stand behind the women that made them.”
Horovitz has had a highly public feminist awakening over the course of his career as a musician. Although the Beastie Boys’ early party anthems definitely contain some sexist lyrics, by the time Ill Communication was released in 1994, the group was rapping verses like, “I want to say a little something that’s long overdue/ The disrespect to women has got to be through,” from the song “Sure Shot.” Horovitz also appears in a supportive role in The Punk Singer, the 2013 documentary about his wife, ‘90s feminist icon Kathleen Hanna, and gave a speech denouncing the rapes at Woodstock ‘99 at the 1999 VMAs. In her remembrance of Horovitz’s bandmate Adam Yauch after Yauch’s death in 2012, Jessica Valenti quotes Horovitz as saying about the Beastie Boys’ 1998 “Song For The Man”:
Sexism is deeply rooted in our history and society that waking up and stepping outside of it is like I’m watching ‘Night of the Living Dead Part Two’ all day every day. Listening to the lyrics of this song, one might say that the Beastie Boy ‘Fight for Your Right to Party’ guy is a hypocrite. Well, maybe; but in this fucked up world all you can hope for is change, and I’d rather be a hypocrite to you than a zombie forever.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article referred to Jocelyn Meinhardt as an actress. She is a playwright. We regret the error.