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Hamilton's New Duel: With Ex-Actor Over a Dressing Room

Transgender actor: show wouldn't renew contract over request for gender-neutral dressing room
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2021 6:50 AM CDT
Ex- Hamilton Actor Files 'Wake-Up Call' Complaint
The Richard Rodgers Theatre, home of the musical "Hamilton," is seen in New York on May 13, 2020.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – A former Hamilton cast member has filed a discrimination complaint against the show, and their lawyer says it's one that should serve as "a wake-up call for the theater industry." Suni Reid, a Black transgender nonbinary actor who'd appeared with the New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles versions of Hamilton since graduating college in 2017, says in their Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint that the show didn't renew their contract after they'd requested, multiple times, a gender-neutral dressing room, reports CBS News.

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That request emerged because Reid, who prefers the pronouns they/them, had been repeatedly harassed, misgendered, and physically threatened by their co-workers, Reid says in the complaint. Reid, who played various ensemble and principal characters in the production, including Aaron Burr and George Washington, claims the work environment was toxic from the start, which led first to a request to be transferred from New York to Chicago, and then to a move from Chicago to LA, per the New York Times.

In the complaint, which is typically the first step before a lawsuit, Reid says that in May, when it was time for their contract renewal, their agent asked for the gender-neutral dressing room for themselves and others—which is when Hamilton producers brought up some of Reid's social media posts griping about the show's racial equity. The show did eventually offer some kind of gender-neutral dressing area—Reid says it was just a sheet hung across the main dressing room—but in July, Reid got a lawyer, and in September, their contract negotiations were suspended, Reid says in the complaint, per Deadline.

"Publicly, Hamilton is a beacon of diversity and appears committed to causes seeking social justice and harmony," Reid's legal team says in a statement. "Behind the curtain, however, the Company's management will force out a Black, transgender cast member simply because they stood up for themselves. We ... hope this is a wake-up call for the theater industry about the systemic inequities that persist even at its greatest heights." A Hamilton rep denies Reid's allegations, saying in a statement that a contract was offered to Reid with terms "responsive to their requests," and that "we have not discriminated or retaliated against [Reid]." (Read more transgender stories.)

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