Entertainment

When a ‘Hamilton’ actor asked for a gender-neutral dressing room

“Hamilton” has been hailed as a showcase of variety and inclusion, however a criticism filed Wednesday with federal civil rights authorities accuses the hit musical of discrimination and retaliation in opposition to a Black transgender solid member.

Suni Reid, who has carried out in varied “Hamilton” productions since 2017 and was part of the Los Angeles cast earlier than the COVID-19 shutdowns final 12 months, filed a criticism with the Equal Employment Alternative Fee that stated Reid repeatedly was harassed by different solid members, typically within the dressing areas for male performers.

The criticism (which can be read here) additionally stated that after Reid requested for a gender-neutral dressing room to be arrange on the Hollywood Pantages Theatre — a request consistent with California legislation requiring employers to supply gender-neutral amenities — Reid’s contract was not renewed and the performer was dropped from the manufacturing.

Reid filed the criticism in Los Angeles in opposition to the musical’s dad or mum firm, in addition to the reopened Pantages manufacturing (generally known as the Eliza Tour) and Adventureland LLC, which handles contractual negotiations and different company administrative issues for the Eliza Tour.

In response to the criticism, a “Hamilton” spokesperson denied the allegations in an e mail to The Occasions on Wednesday.

“Suni Reid was a valued solid member for greater than three years,” the assertion stated. “We supplied them a contract to return to ‘Hamilton’ with phrases conscious of their requests. … We have now not discriminated or retaliated in opposition to Suni.”

Like all different stay productions, “Hamilton” is in the end a enterprise, stated Reid’s legal professional, Lawrence M. Pearson of Wigdor LLP, a agency that has represented victims in discrimination and harassment instances in opposition to Harvey Weinstein, Fox Information and the Recording Academy. “And all companies placed on a specific amount of efficiency — as in, a veneer or facade of social consciousness.”

Pearson stated corporations could take public stands in favor of broad social justice causes or change into symbols of variety of their business. However “if a enterprise will not be keen to interact and comply with by on honest worker considerations about office mistreatment, requests for lodging primarily based upon protected traits together with gender id, then it truly is a efficiency to say that your group is devoted to those causes.”

Reid stated they first noticed “Hamilton” in 2015, when a good friend received a pair of $10 tickets. “I keep in mind feeling thrilled — I used to be a younger, aspiring theater artist, sitting entrance row to all of this magnificent Black expertise on a Broadway stage,” they recalled of watching the unique solid. “It was so cool to see myself mirrored in that house, and it actually lit a hearth beneath me to visualise it for myself and see if I may make it up there too.”

Shortly after graduating from Tempo College’s performing arts program in 2017, Reid joined “Hamilton” on Broadway, enjoying the ensemble position of Man Six and later understudying a number of main roles. Reid then grew to become an offstage standby for the Chicago manufacturing, filling in as Aaron Burr, George Washington, Hercules Mulligan/James Madison and Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson.

Along with enjoying an ensemble position, Reid was the understudy for principal roles like Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr and James Madison.

(Courtesy of Wigdor LLP)

The criticism lists examples of harassment that Reid claims to have skilled from members of “Hamilton” solid and crew, starting from discriminatory feedback relating to gender id to homophobic altercations — and a scarcity of motion after reporting the misconduct to administration.

“It’s a really weak factor to share,” they stated of the incidents. “It makes me a little bit anxious, however on the similar time, it’s very unfair that this firm will get to take pleasure in the advantages of those claims of variety and inclusion, however basically excommunicate somebody who spoke up about it.”

Reid’s criticism stated the request for a gender-neutral dressing room would have benefited different solid members who additionally had expressed curiosity in utilizing one, however administration’s response was to partition a portion of the primary dressing space with a sheet or curtain — which Reed’s criticism known as inadequate.

Rory O’Malley, who performs King George, supplied to surrender his non-public dressing room, and ultimately a gender-neutral dressing room was established on the Pantages. However Reid, who was nonetheless on the payroll, remained excluded from rehearsals and performances, the criticism stated. Final month, Reid was knowledgeable that the corporate now not needed Reid to carry out in any “Hamilton” manufacturing.

“Because the shutdown, our group has taken care of our neighborhood,” the “Hamilton” spokesperson stated within the assertion to The Occasions. “We have now handled Suni with the identical respect and consideration as all the corporate members of ‘Hamilton.’ Particularly, we’ve got given Suni direct monetary assist, paid for his or her medical health insurance, and paid for his or her housing. We want Suni effectively of their future endeavors.”

Reid, who’s on the board of the nonprofit group Broadway for Racial Justice, nonetheless hopes to rejoin “Hamilton” and, “in an excellent world, discover some degree of accountability and acknowledgment of hurt achieved from the producers.”

“Loads of theater artists have spoken out in regards to the injustices they’ve skilled inside these theaters and inside these corporations,” Reid stated, referencing the revealed accounts by “Hamilton” alum Daniel James Belnavis and “Jagged Little Pill” performer Nora Schell.

“It feels as if Broadway and the complete business has reopened with out essentially acknowledging lots of this stuff,” they stated. “These people who find themselves smiling and singing and dancing and bringing them such pleasure — what is occurring to these folks after they exit the stage? What are their working situations? I hope this is a chance for shoppers of theater to dig deeper and be aware of the place their greenback goes.”




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