Did ‘Hamilton’ Non-Whites Only Casting Call Violate Actor Equity Union Standards? [UPDATE]
UPDATE: Recently, Hamilton producers came under fire from a casting call that excluded white actors which may be in violation of New York City Human Rights Law. A rep for the show told CBS2 that the casting call met Actors Equity Union standards. However, a new report suggest that might not be the case. Could Hamilton’s casting call have violated by the New York City Human Rights Law and Actor Equity Union standards?
Civil rights attorney Randolph McLaughlin recently spoke to CBS2 about the issues with casting notice, saying:
“What if they put an ad out that said, ‘Whites only need apply? Why, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians would be outraged.”
McLaughlin thinks that the casting notice has violated the New York City Human Rights Law, as he went on to ad:
You cannot advertise showing that you have a preference for one racial group over another. 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.”
CBS2 reported that a press rep for Hamilton claimed that the casting notice was approved by Actors Equity Union. However, that may not be the case.
Equity spokesperson Maria Somma has since released a statement to Playbill about the casting notice, saying:
“The Hamilton call on their website is inconsistent with Equity's policy. All of our calls have the following language: ‘Performers of all ethnic and racial backgrounds are encouraged to attend.’ We also have strong language in our Production Contract agreement which states, ‘The parties hereto affirm their commitment to the policy that employment hereunder shall be without discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, creed, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression or political persuasion or belief. Consistent with the foregoing and with the procedure set forth in Rule 5(E)(4), it is the intention of the parties that the casting of productions will be conducted in a manner which provides equal and fair consideration to all Actors including, but not limited to: Actors with disabilities, ethnic minorities, seniors and women.’”
What do you think about the casting notice? Do you think that Hamilton producers were wrong to exclude white performers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of the page.