Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Hamilton Accused of Discrimination for Open Casting Call Seeking 'Non-White' Actors

Posted by on Mar. 30, 2016 at 1:38 PM
  • 13 Replies

In a most unusual role reversal, Hamilton could be in trouble over a casting call that seeks “non-white” actors and appears to violate human rights law.

The official casting notice above asks for “non-white men and women, ages 20s to 30s” to audition, because a major selling point of Hamilton is its cast full of black and Latino performers.

Attorney Randolph McLaughlin, of Newman Ferrara Law Firm, argues that the open call is discriminatory. “What if they put an ad out that said, ‘Whites only need apply?’” he tells CBS. “Why, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians would be outraged.”

The Broadway union, Actors Equity, requires producers to fill roles with a “full and fair consideration to actors of all ethnicities.” A press rep forHamilton claims the union approved the notice, and the show’s producer Jeffrey Seller says, “I stand by it and believe it to be legal.” Via CBS:

The press representative for the show told CBS2’s Aiello the language in the notice, “seeking non-white performers,” was approved by Actors Equity.

But the union general counsel denied that, saying such language was not and would not be approved. And in fact, the audition notice approved by the union welcomes performers of “all ethnicities” to audition, which is posted on the site Backstage.com.

See that posting here.

“You cannot advertise showing that you have a preference for one racial group over another,” says McLaughlin. “As an artistic question—sure, he can cast whomever he wants to cast, but he has to give every actor eligible for the role an opportunity to try.”

The city Commission on Human Rights said it has not received a complaint about the ad, and would not say if it is investigating.

I, however, can confirm that I’m still trying to get tickets to Hamilton.


http://jezebel.com/hamilton-accused-of-discrimination-for-open-casting-cal-1767948747?utm_campaign=socialflow_jezebel_facebook&utm_source=jezebel_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow
by on Mar. 30, 2016 at 1:38 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
pdxmum
by Gold Member on Mar. 31, 2016 at 1:39 AM

DDs and I bought the cast recording.  Loving it so far.  The music and the concept.  Casting people of color seems to be central to the point of the production.  With one white actor playing the king of England.  

Marie207
by on Mar. 31, 2016 at 2:44 AM

I want to see it.

Quoting pdxmum:

DDs and I bought the cast recording.  Loving it so far.  The music and the concept.  Casting people of color seems to be central to the point of the production.  With one white actor playing the king of England.  


heresjohnny
by Bronze Member on Mar. 31, 2016 at 7:15 AM
2 moms liked this
I think there are a few legitimate exceptions to discrimination laws. Acting is one of them. Actors and actresses are judged not only on their acting skills, but also by their appearance. If they don't fit the image, they don't get the job. If their vision is to have an all minority cast, it makes sense to hold an all minority audition.

An old black woman in a wheelchair can give the best performance of "If I Were a Rich Man" that anyone has ever seen. That doesn't mean she'll get the role of Tevye. Y'know?
bluerooffarm
by Bronze Member on Mar. 31, 2016 at 7:47 AM
2 moms liked this

I think the piece has to be taken into account for all casting calls.  If it said all white but was a production the The Mikado there would be a case.  If it said all white and was a call for Heidi, well...not so much.

BluesPagan2.0
by IWantTacos on Mar. 31, 2016 at 8:21 AM

This isn't a case of discrimination. Would they hire white actors and then put gem in black face so they fit the role?  I can only imagine the outcry if that happened.  lol 

TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Mar. 31, 2016 at 10:30 AM
That is so stupid. If you need nonwhite actors, you need them. Geez. What is next. A remake of Gone with the Wind full of Asian southerners and white slaves, just to be politically correct, no matter now little sense it makes in terms of the Civil War?
TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Mar. 31, 2016 at 10:31 AM
Yeah. Next thing you know, tiny women will demand the role of Santa Claus. :)

Quoting heresjohnny: I think there are a few legitimate exceptions to discrimination laws. Acting is one of them. Actors and actresses are judged not only on their acting skills, but also by their appearance. If they don't fit the image, they don't get the job. If their vision is to have an all minority cast, it makes sense to hold an all minority audition.

An old black woman in a wheelchair can give the best performance of "If I Were a Rich Man" that anyone has ever seen. That doesn't mean she'll get the role of Tevye. Y'know?
LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Mar. 31, 2016 at 3:13 PM
What human resources person thought that was a good idea? Granted I'm not familiar with acting and casting calls but that seems like an invitation for trouble.
francee89
by Gold Member on Mar. 31, 2016 at 3:37 PM
Discrimination laws can be worked around in many cases by proving a bona fide occupational qualification - Hooters waitresses need to be female, a Catholic school teacher needs to be Catholic, a construction worker needs to have full uses of his lower body etc, when usually sex or religion or disability wouldn't be a basis for legal discrimination.

Race is never a BFOQ except in casting calls/artistic pursuits, in which case the First Amendment allows for the freedom to discriminate based on that if its part of the storyline. I work in HR but have never written a casting call, so I'm not sure how these are usually worded - I know I've seen particularly "funny" in how sexist or rudely written some casting calls are, and if this caught this lawyer's attention I would imagine they're usually more discretely or subtley worded than this.

Quoting LauraKW: What human resources person thought that was a good idea? Granted I'm not familiar with acting and casting calls but that seems like an invitation for trouble.
LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Mar. 31, 2016 at 3:43 PM
I seem to recall a man suing Hooters (or a similar chain) for discrimination because they refused him employment based on sex. He obviously lost but the matter was broached. Catholic schools also don't always require their teachers to be Catholic although I would think that precedent would require careful consideration before being set. We are a litigious society. Sometimes people like to bring claims just because they can.

Quoting francee89: Discrimination laws can be worked around in many cases by proving a bona fide occupational qualification - Hooters waitresses need to be female, a Catholic school teacher needs to be Catholic, a construction worker needs to have full uses of his lower body etc, when usually sex or religion or disability wouldn't be a basis for legal discrimination.

Race is never a BFOQ except in casting calls/artistic pursuits, in which case the First Amendment allows for the freedom to discriminate based on that if its part of the storyline. I work in HR but have never written a casting call, so I'm not sure how these are usually worded - I know I've seen particularly "funny" in how sexist or rudely written some casting calls are, and if this caught this lawyer's attention I would imagine they're usually more discretely or subtley worded than this.

Quoting LauraKW: What human resources person thought that was a good idea? Granted I'm not familiar with acting and casting calls but that seems like an invitation for trouble.
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)