The German dealer Johann König has responded in a lengthy statement to allegations of “sexual misconduct” made by ten women, describing them as rumours “spread without proof”.
König, whose father Kasper is a renowned curator, opened his first gallery in Berlin in 2002, aged 21. Since then, König Galerie has grown into a major international presence with spaces in London, Vienna and, most recently, Seoul.
The allegations, first reported in Die Zeit newspaper, claim that König kissed more than one woman without their consent, and inappropriately touched and made unwanted sexual comments to others. The dealer “comes across as a man who sometimes oversteps boundaries […] and mixes professional and private sexual interests with one another”, the German report says.
One of König’s accusers had filed a criminal complaint against the dealer, but the investigation was reportedly dropped because she did so anonymously.
The alleged incidents date back several years and are said to have happened in restaurants and nightclubs—though the claims were not made public at the time as, according to the Die Zeitreport, the woman feared retaliation. Some of the alleged incidents are said to have taken place in 2017, at parties during the Fiac art fair in Paris.
König has denied all of the allegations against him, contending that Die Zeit’s reporting is “false and misleading”, criticising the article’s authors, and claiming that “[t]he incidents definitely did not take place in the form described”.
In a lengthy statement issued on 2 September, König says he plans to “take action against this defamation”. The dealer says that though he could imagine that his “dissolute and impulsive way of partying, dancing, and talking, the combination of party or nightclub atmosphere, crowded rooms, alcohol, darkness” and his partial blindness “may have led to women or even men feeling harassed by me, or my actions even perceived as assaultive”, he “never acted intentionally in these moments, never kissed someone against their will, never disrespected a rejection, never did not take ‘no’ for an answer. At no time did I cross that line.”