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Texas Renaissance Festival founder 'King George' Coulam accused of sexual harassment in lawsuit

Tony Ewton alleges Coulam, 82, made her “scroll” dating sites, such as sugardaddy.com and sugarbabies.com, to find women who would “date” him in exchange for money.
Credit: txtoddmission.gov
George Coulam is the owner and founder of the Texas Renaissance Festival.

HOUSTON — A Conroe woman has filed a lawsuit against the Texas Renaissance Festival and another company owned by its founder, George Coulam.

Toni Ewton alleges she was a victim of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation while working for Coulam in 2019 and early 2020. The lawsuit also accuses the RenFest and Stargate Manor Arboretum of violating her civil rights.

Coulam, who is the mayor of tiny Todd Mission where RenFest is located, hired Ewton in August 2019 as his personal assistant.

She said things went downhill in December when Coulam, 82, and the “girlfriend” he met at a strip club broke up. The woman had been paid $2,000 a week to fulfill the role of being Coulam’s girlfriend.

According to the lawsuit:

  • Coulam told Ewton to find him women on various dating websites, such as sugardaddy.com, whatsyourprice.com and sugarbabies.com. She was told to lie about his age on his profile and promise the women they’d be paid.
  • Coulam made “constant sexual comments and sexually-charged criticisms” of the women she found on the dating websites, such as the candidate being “too fat” or “too ugly.”
  • The “scrolling” process included printing “nearly nude” photographs that women texted to Coulam.
  • Ewton was ordered to set up lunch dates with the women so he could see if they “had natural breasts.”
  • If they passed the lunch date test, Ewton was told to set up a second date so he could “check out the plumbing” of each woman.
  • During this time, the relationship with the strip club girlfriend was on and off, forcing Ewton to repeatedly stop and start Coulam's online dating accounts.

The lawsuit states: "the plaintiff was extremely uncomfortable having to scroll online dating websites for Coulam due the inappropriateness and unprofessionalism of the request, including knowing the depravity of the websites.”

Ewton said she was also required to transcribe Coulam’s personal notes, which referenced erections and female body parts, including women’s breasts.

In early February of 2020, Ewton said she complained to Coulam about the hostile work environment and told him she no longer wanted to find women for him.

She was told to find her own replacement and was then fired.

The Renaissance Festival and Stargate Manor Arboretum are named in the lawsuit because they “knew or should have known” about the sexual harassment, discrimination and civil rights violations.

Ewton is asking for back pay, front pay, lost benefits, along with compensatory and punitive damages for “impairment to her name and reputation, humiliation, embarrassment, emotional and physical distress and mental anguish.

We reached out to the TRF for reaction, but they said they don’t comment on lawsuits.