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The popular Broadway show “Hamilton” was praised for its diverse cast until the producers posted a casting notice specifying that they were looking for “non-white” actors.
The casting notice came as the show intends to expand to other cities, but it may be illegal. According to Newman Ferrara Law Firm lawyer Randolph McLaughlin, the notice violates the New York City Human Rights Law, which makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate based on race.
The producer, Jeffrey Seller, defended his “non-white” casting notice WCBS, saying, “I stand by it and believe it to be legal.”
McLaughlin claims the producers can cast whoever they want based on artistic preference but must allow everyone to try out for the role.
“What if they put an ad out that said, ‘Whites only need apply?’” he said. “Why, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians would be outraged.”
The casting notice also appears to violate the policy of Actors Equity, which specifies that “…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.”
The “Hamilton” press representative said the casting notice was approved by Actors Equity, but the union’s general counsel claims this is not the case. The audition notice they approved welcomed “all ethnicities.”
The City Commission on Human Rights has yet to receive a complaint but would not say if it was investigating the “non-white” casting notice.
A source informed WCBS that the commission would probably work with the “Hamilton” production team to help it comply with city laws if the controversy becomes an issue.