A black and transgender artist from “Hamilton” filed a complaint with the Los Angeles district office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying the show did not renew his contract after asking on several occasions a gender-neutral locker room. Suni Reid was a cast member in productions of “Hamilton” in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago and said she was harassed and abused by other cast members on several occasions, which led to their request to changing room.
“Publicly, Hamilton is a beacon of diversity and appears committed to causes seeking social justice and harmony. Behind the curtain, however, the leadership of the company will force a black and transgender actor simply because he defended and advocated for a more equitable workplace, and therefore questioned this public image, “said Lawrence M. Pearson, Reid’s attorney, on Wednesday.
“We look forward to standing up for the rights of Mx. Reid and hope this is a wake-up call to the theater industry about the systemic inequalities that persist even at its highest level.”
“Hamilton” did not immediately respond to CBS News’s request for comment.
Reid received a role on the show directly after graduating from college in 2017, according to the complaint. They have performed ensemble roles and those of Aaron Burr, George Washington, Hercules Mulligan / James Madison on Broadway, as well as Marquis de Lafayette / Thomas Jefferson in Chicago.
In the 28-page brief, Reid claims the show “failed to act” when other cast members physically threatened and manhandled them in men’s locker rooms in Chicago and New York City. In May 2021, during discussions surrounding Reid’s contract renewal, the artist reportedly asked Los Angeles production management for access to a gender-neutral dressing room, for which they said “several” actors had expressed their interest.
Instead, Reid alleges the show agreed to simply hang a sheet over part of the main locker room. After Reid said this was unacceptable, the artist claimed that “Hamilton” retaliated against them, suspending their ongoing contract negotiations in September.
Even after actor Rory O’Malley, who plays King George, agreed to relinquish his private dressing room, Reid was reportedly still excluded from performances. Executives at “Hamilton” have also reportedly expressed concern over Reid’s Instagram posts calling for greater inclusion in the industry, although Reid said the posts “have been known to the company for months.”
“Hamilton’s offensive response by qualifying Mx. Reid’s “problematic” not only perpetuates harmful stereotypes, but betrays society’s reflective retaliatory impulse in response to Mx. Reid daring to question Hamilton’s social equity and denounce mistreatment based on their race, sexual orientation / LGBTQ + status, gender and gender identity, ”the file said.