Discussion:
IMPORTANT! PETER SKLAR'S BEGINNING'S WORKSHOP!
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p***@aol.com
2005-01-23 08:37:58 UTC
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This is a horrifying story. If what you alledge is true, this man is
sick and needs to be put away so he won't destroy other girls lives.
Too bad your parents talked you out of pressing charges. If my
child
told me this story I would go straight to the authorities, proof or
not.
I was a student at Beginning's last summer.
I wanted to tell you...please, PLEASE have NOTHING to do with it
whatsoever.
Let me tell you about my experience.
I'll get the lighter stuff out of the way first. The cabins were
infested with
spiders, and either freezing cold or extremly hot. You were given 3
minutes in
the shower. You got very little sleep at night. Meals were terrible.
I
totally
agree with eating healthy...I eat tofu, drink soy and rice milk, eat
organic
food, and eat soy nuts, etc. I eat very healthily normally. The food
here was
pure CRAP. Lunch would be... one piece of soggy spelt bread. With a
piece of
plain tofu, plain lettuce, and a lot of raw onions on top. You were
made to
eat the entire thing. And maybe some slightly rotton mixed greens
with no
dressing would be served. Or maybe overdone, slimy roasted peppers
filled with
tofu that made many kids sick and throw up, yet forced to eat the
entire thing.
I threw up and was accused of being bulimic, which I am most
definently NOT.
And lets talk about the classes. NOTHING like advertised. Basically
you took
beginner's acting classes and improv classes. Broadway Vocals was
terrible. We
sang together like a chorus. Half the kids could barely sing. There
was no
piano accompianment. You were grouped by age,and not by talent.
There
was no
film acting. No commerical acting. No audition preperation classes.
You all
basically took the same kind of classes. Beginniners classes. I have
done
several professional musicals, taken 6 years of vocal training, and
9
years of
acting training and found the classes to be extremely basic. When I
mentioned
this I was told "you're nothing spectacular. just stick with the
classes". The
chaperones were not friendly and nice. In fact they were insensitive
and seemed
more wrapped up in themselves than the campers. And the off-Broadway
showcase...very few agents attended. Not one person I know out of
either session (which is very many) got representation or auditions.
I haven't yet started with the bad things yet. Peter sexually
harrased
me and 4
other girls. He made me come to his cabin, away from the main camp
part. He
made me go inside alone even though I didn't want to. He began to
hug
me,
stroke my face and hair, touch my behind, and knead my shoulders. I
shrugged
him away and tried to leave but he wouldn't let me. He called me
"his
baby
girl" and "baby" and "my sweet baby who wants to be loved". He said
"I'll be
your daddy, baby". These innapropriate behaviors continued
throughout
camp. In
front of people it just looked like affection. They couldn't hear
his
whispers
and didn't see that when his arm was around my shoulders...it would
drop lower.
I was terrified of what was happening. I couldn't talk to anyone. I
tried to
talk to my chaperone's. They did not care. I basically suffered in
silence
until another girl came forward. Apparently Peter had been doing the
same thing
to her. I did the same, and told the owner of the camp ground he
rents. I was
promised he would know nothing about anything I said. The girl who
spoke out
went home. That was not an option for me since I live so far away.
Everything went fine until we were in the theatre in the morning
before the off-
Broadway showcase. Peter stood up and said that he had some
unpleasant
business
to bring up. He made me and 2 other girls stand up in front of
everyone. He
said, "These girls are liars. They have been spreading lies about me
and
frightening the other students." He said "They are poiseners. They
have lied
about me. Don't believe any of it. We will be putting them in a
place
where
they can tell each other their stories and they can spread their
lies
to each
other." He then put us in a tiny room backstage with orders not to
leave.
Every once in a while a chaperone would come back to take us to the
bathroom. I
was scared because I am claustrophobic. I was hyperventilating and
dizzy. Mr.
Sklar did not even bother to check and see if we were ok.
We were completly isolated from the other campers. Even the
chaperones
were
given orders not to talk to us. After several hours, one of the
girls
went out
to tell Mr. Sklar that I was sick. I felt sick and was dizzy and
having trouble
breathing. We had opened the door a crack so it wasn't as bad but it
was still
very small and closed in. He moved us up to another room upstairs
that was
bigger, and I felt better then. I got a chance to talk to the other
girls, all
who had similar stories about what he said or did. People said we
were
lying,
and no one believed us. But I have to ask...why would 5
girls...(including the
girl who left earlier and a girl I knew in the past who went) want
to
lie about
something as serious as this? We had absolutely no motive! None of
us
were
upset with Mr. Sklar in any way. Also, 3 of the girls were older. I
had not
talked to them at all before this, yet we had basically the same
stories as to
what was said or done!
After 10 hours of being completly isolated with each other (1 girl
left at
early showcase), we were finally let go. I told my parents what
happened. They
wanted to press charges but unfortunatly I had no proof of what had
happened.
No addresses of the other girls or anything. We went around and
told
some of
the places he had visited in the area what had happened. Hopefully
this will
not happen to girls around this area again. And hopefully my
sharing
my story
with you will prevent this from happening to someone you know or
your
children. I have known people who have gone there and loved it.
Then
there are
people like me who become his victims. I have undergone therapy
since
this
experience. I have nightmares about him all the time. I am taking a
self
defense class so that if this happens again I will be able to
protect
myself. I
am just begging you...tell everyone you know about this. Please.
Please Note: This entire commentary is fictitious. It was immediately
removed from Google groups by the parents of this young person upon
their being informed of its existence. For those who would like to read
the letter I wrote to the author's parents when I discovered their
daughter's false posting, as well her parents' letter of acquiescence,
as well as additional documentation as to the false and defamatory
nature of the author's statements, including a series of articulate and
angry rebuttals from nearly a dozen witnesses who were present at the
session she attended, (nearly four years ago), you may contact my
office at ***@aol.com. Please note that several such rebuttals
are posted on Google, including a point by point response written by
the chaperones at the workshop who resided with this disturbed young
person and observed her continuously throughout her session. Please
note moreover that a thorough perusal of the entire World Wide Web will
reveal that there has never been so much as a single remotely similar
complaint or corroborative posting regarding Peter Sklar or the
Beginnings workshop throughout its entire twenty-two year history. It
is truly unfortunate that a "ghost" copy of this false diatribe is
allowed to remain visible on Google, along with the misguided, albeit
well-intended, responses it first attracted. Thank you. -Peter Sklar
h***@gmail.com
2013-07-17 02:20:45 UTC
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Obviously, i wasn't there so i don't know exactly what went down but i can tell you that i went to one of peter sklar's workshops last summer and it was probably the best thing i have ever done. I agree that there was alot of food and they did make us eat it all but the meals were nothing like you described.Most of what i had was quite good and even though there were some things i didn't like nothing was absolutely horrible. As for the sexual harassment i am not going to comment except to say that from the times i have interacted with Peter i don't think that it is something he would do, i am not saying it didn't happen i am just saying it doesn't sound like him. I also agree that we were only given a few minutes to shower but what are you gonna do? I also really liked my chaperones but i have not met the ones you had so i have no idea how they treated you guys.I also don't think they should have told you that your nothing special, I mean if your nothing special then why were you invited to the workshop in the first place?I am not saying that none of the things you talked about are true i am just telling you what happened when i was there. Maybe the workshops have changed? i don't know. Like i said, just giving you my pointe of veiw. -Alicia
p***@gmail.com
2017-12-09 05:58:03 UTC
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Hey there. So much time has passed since this was originally written, but I have to say...with all of the uncovered harassment confessions that have been hitting the front pages these past few months, it basically dusted off a cobweb of a memory in the back of my mind about Mr. Sklar. I know there have been some other people on here defending Peter and the way he operates his business, and they are entitled to do that. I can only share with you my truth. My truth is I am a guy who went to Peter's workshop many years ago. I'm in my 30's now, but I can still remember most of the experience.

What I 100% remember was Peter taking certain girls back to his cabin for private meetings. We were all kids but we weren't all naive. A lot of the guys in my cabin wondered what was going on with these girls. He never took guys back to his cabin to have "talks," so it struck us as very odd. There were murmurs throughout the camp that he was sexually abusing these girls, and quite frankly, I believe them.

I wasn't in Peter's cabin. I don't know what was said, and I have zero evidence to back up this claim. I do, however, believe that where there is smoke, there is fire. I specifically googled Peter tonight to see if anyone had ever had or heard the experience that I had. It didn't take me long to find this, albeit 15 years later.

I'm still a performer in this business, and truthfully, I've been very lucky and blessed to have a wonderful career. I've done film, broadway, and television, and I say this not to toot my own horn, but rather to affirm that I'm not some ill-informed guy who took this workshop when he was a kid and then never pursued the career. I think many years later, I can have an educated opinion on this workshop. In regards to it, I say keep your children away. Take your children to acting classes, dance classes, and vocal classes. If you're in a city where you don't have access to a good vocal teacher, there are many across the country who offer amazing lessons over Skype. Enroll your children in your local dance school and have them take ballet/jazz/tap/acro. Try and find a studio that goes to dance conventions or brings in people from the business who can offer them the most current training. There are so many better avenues of training you can pursue for your child that don't warrant a week workshop with a "talent scout" (btw stay away from anyone calling themselves a talent scout. That doesn't exist. You have agents and casting directors. You can pay to take workshops directly with them. You don't need Peter to help you with that.

I did Peter's showcase and was chosen to meet with him later, and quite frankly, the connections he has are minimal at best. I specifically remember him telling us all the time how important our health was, yet he would drive around our camp on an ATV smoking cigars and eating chocolate bars in front of the students. I'm old enough now to see that the man was and likely still is a brilliant but tortchered soul. I undoubtedly believe he has done some amazing things for kids all across the world; If anything else, giving them self confidence, encouraged them to pursue the arts, and provided an understanding of a healthy lifestyle. With that said, I personally believe the man molested young girls at his workshop camps for years. I also think there are people who know who aren't saying anything, and I urge you that we need you now more than ever to speak your truth. Now is the time to hold people like this accountable. Just because you knew Peter well doesn't mean what this girl in the post above is a liar. Why would she come forward with such a violating and vulnerable claim? To sit there and type and shame her doesn't really help get to the truth of the matter. I applaud her to having the courage so many years ago to come forward when doing so wasn't as supported as it is today. I hope you've been able to find peace and I hope more people come forward about this man.
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