Black, trans and non-binary actor Suni Reid has filed an EEOC complaint against the L.A. production of the musical Hamilton.
Reid has appeared in Broadway, Chicago, and Los Angeles productions of Hamilton, both in ensemble roles and principal features as Aaron Burr, George Washington, Hercules Mulligan/James Madison on Broadway, and Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson in the Chicago show.
In their 28-page complaint, Reid claims that the organization “failed to act” when fellow play actors in the Los Angeles production made physical threats toward them and repeatedly misgendered them, particularly in shared male dressing spaces. When contract renewals rolled around in May 2021, Reid requested a gender-neutral dressing space in which to change costumes be made available at the Hollywood Pantages theater where Hamilton is performed. Their contract was subsequently not renewed.
“Publicly, Hamilton is a beacon of diversity and appears committed to causes seeking social justice and harmony,” Reid’s attorneys Lawrence M. Pearson and Lindsay M. Goldbrum of Wigdor LLP said in a statement via Deadline. “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.”
However, Hamilton producers deny that retaliation was the case at all.
In fact, they claim that they responded to Reid’s “legally protected request” in a reasonably accomodating fashion.
“Suni Reid was a valued cast member for more than three years,” said to production’s statement to Deadline. “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.”
They also claim to have provided Reid with housing and financial support through COVID-19 compliant theater shutdowns.
“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,” they said. “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.”