Nonbinary performer Suni Reid has performed in the Broadway, Chicago, and Los Angeles productions of Hamilton. That came to an end in Los Angeles, however, when their contract was not renewed, allegedly after Reid requested a gender-neutral dressing room. In response, Reid filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission citing retaliation as the cause for being let go from the production — charges that Hamilton’s producers are denying.
In a statement made by Reid’s attorneys, Lawrence M. Pearson and Lindsay M. Goldbrum of Wigdor LLP, they are alleging that while the Hamilton production publicly appears committed to diversity and social justice, behind closed doors the situation is very different. “Behind the curtain, however, the Company’s management will force out a Black, transgender cast member simply because they stood up for themselves and advocated for a more equitable workplace, and therefore called that public image into question. We look forward to upholding Mx. Reid’s rights and hope this is a wake-up call for the theater industry about the systemic inequities that persist even at its greatest heights,” they write.
Per the complaint, Reid asked for a gender-neutral dressing room at the Hollywood Pantages theater last June, a request that Reid’s lawyers state was “legally protected.” Weeks later, however, Reid learned that their contract was not being reviewed in addition to being sidelined “during rehearsals, previews, and finally opening night and beyond,” their attorneys said.
While Reid was eventually provided with the dressing room after another member of the production, Rory O’Malley, gave up theirs, the retaliation continued, according to the statement. Reid also says that there were issues with their cast discriminating against them as well, creating a toxic work environment, “including incidents in which certain actors physically threatened Mx. Reid or intentionally and repeatedly mis-gendered them.”
In a statement given to Deadline, a spokesperson for the Hamilton production rebuts these claims. “Suni Reid was a valued cast member for more than three years,” they said in the statement. “We offered them a contract to return to Hamilton with terms responsive to their requests. We deny the allegations in the Charge. We have not discriminated or retaliated against Suni. Since the shutdown, our organization has taken care of our community. We have treated Suni with the same respect and consideration as all the company members of Hamilton. Specifically, we have given Suni direct financial support, paid for their health insurance, and paid for their housing. We wish Suni well in their future endeavors.”