'Hamilton' Producers Under Fire For "Non-Whites Only" Casting Call
One NY attorney is calling it a human rights violation.
Since its Broadway debut last summer, Hamilton has been winning over audiences and critics alike, even taking home a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album earlier this year. The award-winning production is based on the biography of Alexander Hamilton. What's most exciting? The play includes a variety of music styles (including rap and hip-hop, which you aren't likely to find on many Broadway stages) and the majority of the cast are people of color - another rarity in any form of popular media.
Now, Hamilton producers are coming under fire for a recent casting call. As the musical expands to other cities, producers are specifically seeking "non-white" actors to fill the roles. The show's creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda has previously explained his reasoning for casting majority POC actors.
"We're telling the story of old, dead white men but we're using actors of color, and that makes the story more immediate and more accessible to a contemporary audience," Miranda said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
Some are still taking offense to Miranda and his producer's recent casting call, though. Civil rights attorney Randolph McLaughlin believes that the casting call violates the New York City Human Rights Law, which bans race-based discrimination.
"What if they put an ad out that said, 'Whites only need apply?'" McLaughlin said in an interview with CBS 2. "Why, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians would be outraged."
"You cannot advertise showing that you have a preference for one racial group over another," McLaughlin continued. "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."
Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller remains unmoved, telling reporters: "I stand by it and believe it to be legal."
The Commission on Human Rights has not yet commented on whether or not they're currently investigating, but CBS 2's sources shared that--were the commission to take issue with the ad in its current form--their response would likely be to just work with producers to edit the ad.