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"This is not a plantation, if you want to leave, you can leave" says the show's attorney to the cast and crew... wow, did not know things were this bad at Hamilton
Posted by: Singapore/Fling 04:06 pm EDT 10/15/21
In reply to: La Complainte de la Suni - Marlo*Manners 03:17 pm EDT 10/15/21

Thanks for sharing! This is required reading to anyone who is interested in how these big shows operate.

Based on the quick summary we were offered, it did sound to me like Reid might have been problematic in their behavior, but I leave this feeling very differently. Things are dysfunctional behind the scenes at "Hamilton", and I hope that this helps to push them to make necessary changes.

Going through the complaints, the nail polish situation does seem gendered and not related to the roles, since the policy for women is that they can have nail polish as long as it is nude or flesh colored and not visible from the audience. I take this to mean that if Reid wore polish, it would also not be visible to the audience. At that point, why can't they wear polish? It doesn't affect the way the character is portrayed, and it does seems that Reid took the notes to, for lack of a better term, butch it up when he was playing the male roles.

The homophobia is disturbing all around, especially when it spills onto the stage, and also underlines, again, how important it is for queer people to have a space to undress where they can feel safe if their fellow cast members are not able to support them.

The threats of violence - a cast member saying directly "I will beat your ass" - are unforgivable, and the reaction from the Stage Manager was inappropriate and potentially put Reid in danger. This is another sad reminder that Equity Stage Managers are not fulfilling their job to look out for the safety and well-being of Equity actors.

Most importantly, in terms of this case, Mr. Reid continued to be employed by "Hamilton" even as they were navigating these issues. They continued to be employed even after they posted some of these stories on social media, even receiving a contract renewal months after those posts. It was only when they asked for a legally required by the state of California gender-neutral dressing room that they were let go, with the social media posts being the indicated reason (though they continued to be on payroll after those posts went up).

And then the way they were treated during this drawn-out process while "Hamilton" was creating a case to fire them speaks for itself in terms of a discriminatory, hostile employer. We learn that many members of the company wanted Reid back in the show, and we learn that when they asked why Reid wasn't in rehearsals, a lawyer for "Hamilton" told them that the show wasn't a plantation.... but at least he didn't ask them to play proud slave (that was a different actor who was not Black).

And then we hear about a Black actor who was fired for speaking out about how the mostly white Hair Team was mishandling her wig, which ultimately lead to changes in how the show handles hair. And a gay cast member says that “Hamilton is, without question, a Boys’ Club rooted in toxic masculinity and heteronormativity.”

This is all appalling.
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Previous: La Complainte de la Suni - Marlo*Manners 03:17 pm EDT 10/15/21
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