While looking to open in theaters across the country, the casting directors for the hit Broadway play Hamilton put out an ad specifically seeking “non-white” actors.
Civil rights attorney Randolph McLaughlin says that amounts to a violation of the New York City Human Rights Law.
“You cannot advertise showing that you have a preference for one racial group over another,” McLaughlin 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 details of the Hamilton casting call says: “Seeking NON-WHITE men and women, ages 20s to 30s, for Broadway and upcoming Tours!”
The show’s producer Jeffrey Seller claims that Hamilton encourages diversity. “I stand by it and believe it to be legal,” Seller said of the controversial casting call.
A spokesmen for Hamilton said the language in the advertisement, “seeking non-white performers,” was approved by Actors Equity, the Broadway union.
However, lawyers for the Broadway union have denied that the organization ever approved a casting call for “non-white” performers.
The New York City Commission on Human Rights is expected to work with the Hamilton production team to insure compliance with discrimination laws.
Two weeks ago, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda joined President Obama in the Rose Garden and performed a rap song about Obamacare, immigration, and other political topics. First lady Michelle Obama has called Hamilton “the best piece of art in any form that I have ever seen in my life.”
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