Broadway actor Chad Kimball filed a lawsuit against the producers of the stage musical “Come From Away,” alleging he was discriminated against during the re-hiring for the show’s post-pandemic run because of his Christian beliefs.
Kimball alleges that the producers for the musical questioned him about his public stance against Washington state’s Covid-19 restriction policies locking down churches, and also alleged that the producers implied that his faith was somehow connected to the Washington D.C. capitol riot on January 6th, reported Breitbart News, citing a copy of the legal complaint that the news outlet obtained.
The lawsuit was filed in New York State Supreme Court, and in the suit Kimball formally makes issue of the producer’s decision not to rehire him for the show’s return to Broadway in September, or for the show’s Apple TV+ special, despite Kimball having a main role in the original cast. The complaint states that the decision of the producers to not rehire him, whether based “wholly or partly” on his faith, violates civil rights statutes on religious discrimination.
Kimball gained some attention in November of last year when he publicly opposed Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s order banning singing in churches, and stated that he would “respectfully disobey” the governor’s order.
Respectfully, I will never allow a Governor, or anyone, to stop me from SINGING, let alone sing in worship to my God. Folks, absolute POWER corrupts ABSOLUTELY. This is not about safety. It’s about POWER. I will respectfully disobey these unlawful orders. #inslee #Tyranny #truth pic.twitter.com/84UDiozOd1
— Chad Kimball (@chadkimball1) November 15, 2020
This tweet won Kimball no friends amongst fellow Broadway actors, who responded with harsh criticism and accusations that Kimball was just being selfish.
The actor alleges that the production team for “Come From Away” then summoned him in January, and he was “forced to explain and defend” his tweets to producers. Kimball alleges that Susan Frost, a producer for the musical, told him point-blank that there was now a question regarding his “conservative Christian” beliefs.
According to Kimball, Frost insinuated that “events at the Capitol, Josh Hawley, and the Conservative Christian movement were tied together.” Furthermore, Kimball alleges that Frost implied “connection between Mr. Kimball, by virtue of his faith, to the ideas and actions of the January 6, 2021 events at the U.S. Capitol.”
Kimball further alleges that he asked Christopher Ashley, the director of the musical, if he was being fired because of his religious faith, which allegedly prompted Ashley to respond with “everything.”
Finally, on January 22nd, Kimball says he was told he would not be returning to the show when it reopened because “production needed to focus on bringing the show back together and ensure people’s safety.” The show then resumed at Broadway’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theater in New York on September 21st.
Kimball, who has received a Tony Award for his lead performance in ‘Memphis’ in 2010, is seeking unspecified punitive and compensatory damages, as well as lost wages, according to the court documents.
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