Whites need not apply? Broadway show based on Founding Fathers in hot water for discrimination

The producers of the hottest show on Broadway have all but posted a sign that reads, “Whites Need Not Apply.”

Hamilton” is a blockbuster Broadway musical that “valorizes dead white guys,” as one critic wrote, using black, Latino and multi-ethnic performers to play America’s founding fathers, and producers recently put out a casting call specifically seeking “non-white” actors, CBS New York reported.

“What if they put an ad out that said, ‘Whites only need apply?’” asked Randolph McLaughlin, a local civil rights attorney. “Why, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians would be outraged.”

McLaughlin said 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,” according to CBS New York.

“You cannot advertise showing that you have a preference for one racial group over another,” he 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.”

The CBS affiliate said the ad was approved by the Actors Equity, despite a policy by the union which says, “…producers agree that auditions for all productions … will be conducted in such a manner as to provide full and fair consideration to actors of all ethnicities.”

Producer Jeffrey Seller stands by the “non-white” casting notice and said he believes it is legal.

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Tom Tillison

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