An explosive investigation by NPR reveals sexual abuse allegations against famed Broadway costume designer William Ivey Long, responsible for the wardrobe of iconic productions like Chicago, Hairspray, and most recently Diana: The Musical. Two of his former mentees, Court Watson and Michael Martin, both came forward claiming sexual abuse, with Watson describing alleged incidents where he was so inebriated he could not consent. Martin claimed Long touched him inappropriately on about 10 accusations. The claims also include an allegation that Long urged a young man to have sex with another crew member while a board member watched. Long also allegedly forced the man to let the designer perform oral sex on him.
Long’s lawyer, Pearl Zuchlewski, insists that the disturbing allegations are “categorically false,” despite multiple accounts of inappropriate behavior from anonymous sources. The sources said they feared retaliation or permanent damage to their careers if they spoke up against the influential designer. Long, a two-time Tony Award winner and friend of prominent figures like Anna Wintour and the late Jackie Kennedy Onassis, once mentioned in a 2006 New York Times Magazine profile that he had a habit of “kissing everyone—gay women, straight men—smack on the lips.”