Actors’ Equity released a statement Thursday in response to a report of “West Side Story” company members who may be concerned about safety due to ongoing protests.
Weekly protests have been taking place outside the Broadway Theatre to speak out against the casting of Amar Ramasar, who has been accused of sharing sexually explicit photos during his time at New York City Ballet. Another protest is scheduled for Thursday, the opening night of the production.
A New York Times article Wednesday reported that “West Side Story” has hired a cybersecurity firm to meet with anyone concerned about online harassment and their own safety. In the statement Thursday, Equity said it has been monitoring the situation at the production.
“Everyone at ‘West Side Story’ should be able to go to work and perform feeling safe and protected in their workplace. Equity has been in communication with the general manager and the members of the show. As a union, Equity’s role is to ensure that our members are protected in the workplace and we take that responsibility very seriously,” Actors’ Equity Association Executive Director Mary McColl said in the statement.
Equity also urged any member who feels unsafe to anonymously report the problem to the Equity hotline.
As protests have been growing, the producers of “West Side Story” have stuck by Ramasar, saying last week that there was “zero consideration being given to his potentially being terminated from this workplace, as there has been no transgression of any kind, ever, in this workplace.”
The production had previously spoken to Ramasar’s “good standing” within Equity and the union’s support of his “employment eligibility.” However, Equity has said it plays no part in hiring decisions and was not aware of Ramasar’s casting before it was announced.