Hamilton Accused Of Discrimination For Open Casting Call Seeking “Non-White” Actors
In the twistiest of all twists, hit Broadway musical Hamilton could be in trouble for violating the New York City Human Rights law for posting an open casting call for “non-white” actors.
An official casting notice for a touring company of the popular and eternally-sold-out show seeks “non-white men and women ages 20s to 30s” which makes sense if you’re familiar with Hamilton, a show that prominently features African American and Latino actors.
However, civil rights attorney Randolph McLaughlin of the Newman Ferrara Law Firm finds this “problematic.”
McLaughlin believes the ad violates the New York City Human Rights Law, which makes it unlawful “for an employer… because of the actual written or perceived… race of any person, to discriminate.”
“You cannot advertise showing that you have a preference for one racial group over another,” McLaughlin said. “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.”
Actors’ Equity, the union that represents all Broadway performers, approved the casting notice and its language. Furthermore, the actual casting notice on Backstage.com explicitly states that performers of “all ethnicities” are welcome to audition. Seems fine, right? Seems okay to me. One would think that a working actor would understand that Hamilton works this way and not get fussed about it, so if that’s the case, everyone should sit back, relax and find something else to yell about.
For good measure:
The city Commission on Human Rights said it has not received a complaint about the ad, and would not say if it is investigating.