‘Hamilton’ trans actor claims she lost her role after asking for gender-neutral locker room
A black transgender actor who was an actor in the “Hamilton” touring show filed a federal complaint against the production alleging it lost its role after requesting a gender-neutral dressing room.
Suni Reid, who uses the pronouns them / them and is non-binary, filed a complaint Wednesday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Los Angeles alleging discrimination and reprisal because, she says , she “dared to question the supposed” awakening “of the company” behind “Hamilton,” the acclaimed musical about Alexander Hamilton and other American historical figures, which is famous for its diverse cast.
One of Reid’s attorneys, Lawrence Pearson, said in a statement to USA TODAY that “Hamilton” has been a public “beacon of diversity” with a commitment to social justice and harmony.
âBehind the curtain, however, the management of the company will force a black and transgender actor simply because he stood up for himself and advocated for a more equitable workplace, and therefore questioned that public image,â Pearson said in the statement.
Shane Marshall Brown, spokesperson for “Hamilton”, told USA TODAY in a statement that Reid was “a valued actor” for more than three years, and has denied the charges against him.
“We offered them a contract to return to ‘Hamilton’ on terms suited to their demands,” Brown’s statement read. “We deny the allegations in the (complaint). We have not discriminated against or retaliated against Suni. Since the closure, our organization has taken care of our community. We have treated Suni with the same respect and the same consideration that all members of the company of ‘Hamilton.’
The statement continued, âSpecifically, we provided direct financial support to Suni, paid for their health insurance and paid for their housing. We wish Suni good luck in their future endeavors.
In an email to USA TODAY, Pearson said Reid would likely bring federal lawsuit soon to seek âunspecified economic damages for financial harm and emotional distress,â if the EEOC gives the green light.
He said his client wanted the “Hamilton” company “to be held accountable” and to handle cast members’ complaints “with more respect and a less confrontational approach going forward.” The complaint does not specify what responsibility Reid is looking for.
âWe look forward to standing up for the rights of Mx. Reid and hope this will be a wake-up call to the theater industry about the systemic inequalities that persist even at its highest level,â said Pearson.
Besides being a smash hit on Broadway, âHamiltonâ has won multiple Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize; a filmed version of the musical appeared on Disney + last year. It was created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, of Puerto Rican descent, and bring in black, Latino and Asian actors to tell the story from the founders of the United States through the standards of hip-hop, R&B, jazz and Broadway.
Reid’s attorney said the actor joined the show’s cast right out of college in 2017 and played a variety of ensemble and leading roles in productions in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. , notably George Washington, Aaron Burr, Hercules Mulligan / James Madison, and Marquis de Lafayette / Thomas Jefferson.
But Reid says the company refused to renew their contract after Reid demanded that performers have a gender-neutral dressing room in addition to those for men and women.
Unfortunately, during Mx. Reid’s years with the show, which claims to be a
icon of diversity, they have experienced frequent incidents of discrimination and harassment from ‘Hamilton’ cast and management members because of their race, sexual orientation / LGBTQ + status, gender and gender identity â , claims Reid’s complaint.
Reid also alleges that the company “did not act when certain actors have physically or intentionally threatened and repeatedly mis-sexist” Reid, who has openly stated that he is transgender and not binary. Reid’s complaint alleges that the “harassment” primarily occurred in the locker rooms of male performers Reid had to use as a cast member in New York and Chicago.
Reid took to social media “more than once” to draw attention to what she saw as racial equity issues, including the predominance of white executives in senior management and the safety of transgender actors. .
In May and June, amid negotiations to renew Reid’s contract, according to the complaint, the company said it would tie up part of the main locker room with a curtain or sheet. When Reid responded that it was not good enough in practical terms or under the law, she alleges that management began to look for ways to get rid of Reid and suspended contract negotiations.
Hamilton management has openly shown its animosity against Mx. Reid by citing ‘problematic’ social media posts as the supposed reason for the heist, despite the fact that these posts … had been known to the company for months before. Mx. Reid’s contract. Discussions resumed, “the complaint claims.
Company’s alleged labeling of Reid as “problematic” perpetuates damaging stereotypes, claims complaint, and betrays company alleged retaliation against Reid “for daring to question social fairness of “Hamilton” in good faith “and to denounce the ill-treatment, says the complaint.
The target of the complaint, as well as any subsequent lawsuits, is Adventureland LLC, which handles contract negotiations and other corporate administrative matters for the Eliza tour of “Hamilton the Musical”.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: ‘Hamilton’ actor claims he lost his role in gender-neutral locker room