Suni Reid, a Black trans actor who was a cast member in Hamilton’s touring show, is filing a federal complaint against the production alleging they lost her role after requesting a gender-neutral dressing room.
Reid, who is nonbinary and goes by pronouns they/them, filed a complaint on Wednesday (October 13) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Los Angeles alleging discrimination and retaliation over questioning ‘the supposed ‘wokeness’ of the company” behind Hamilton.
In a statement to USA Today, Lawrence Pearson, one of Reid’s lawyers, said that Hamilton has been a public “beacon of diversity” with a commitment to social injustice and harmony.
“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,” Pearson said in the statement.
In response, Shane Marshall Brown, a Hamilton spokesman, told the newspaper in a statement that Reid was “a valued cast member” for more than three years, but denied Reid’s accusations.
“We offered them a contract to return to ‘Hamilton’ with terms responsive to their requests,” Brown’s statement said. “We deny the allegations in the (complaint). 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.’”
The statement added: “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.”
Pearson said Reid will likely file a federal lawsuit seeking unspecified “economic damages for financial harm and emotional distress,” if the EEOC gives the go-ahead, in an email to USA Today.
Pearson added that his client wants accountability and to address complaints of cast members “with greater respect and a less adversarial approach in the future.”
“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,” he said.