WATCH: NY Stage And 'Dear White People' Actor Calls Out Racism In Theater In Viral Video
"Broadway is racist. Burn it down." That's it. That's the story. No, but seriously, that's hopefully not how the story will end, but it's definitely the thesis of a searing seven minute rebuke of the theater community by openly gay actor Griffin Matthews. Matthews co-wrote and starred in the musical Invisible Thread (also titled Witness Uganda). Television audiences may recognize Matthews as D'Unte from the third season of the original Netflix series "Dear White People."
In the viral video that is racking up thousands of views and shares—along with mainstream news coverage—Matthews recounts his own experiences with racism while working as a writer and actor, often describing his aggressors as "Amy Coopers," a reference to the now infamous investment executive who made national headlines for making a false police report after Christian Cooper, a Black man asked her to leash her dog in New York's Central Park.
In his video, Matthews describes incidents where a producer tried to force him out of the show, which was based on his own experience; where a casting director said an actress didn’t seem “black enough” to be in the show; where the theater company Second Stage asked the show’s cast to perform for free at its gala while promising a donation to their charity, without delivering on that donation; where reviewers described the show and cast in racist terms, without the producers defending the show; and where the show’s director (Diane Paulus, though Matthews does not name her directly) shouted that she did not work for him.
“White people literally need not one black person to become a Broadway sensation,” Matthews said, adding that Broadway is filled with racist, Amy Cooper–like white people who believe themselves to be allies. “I may never make it to Broadway for simply speaking out against the horrific treatment that I received, and all the Amy Coopers will be fine … They do not need black people to reach the pinnacle of success, and that is why I say, burn it down.”
Here's how members of the Broadway community are reacting to Matthews' video.
Watch Matthews' video below: