CBS New York, March 29, 2016
The hottest show on Broadway has won praise for its groundbreaking casting of black and Latino performers, but now, “Hamilton” may have run afoul of the strict New York City Human Rights Law.
As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, the controversy was sparked by a casting notice posted by the producers of “Hamilton,” which specifically seeks “non-white” performers.
One critic said “Hamilton” takes a story that “valorizes dead white guys” and replaces it with black, Latino and multi-ethnic performers playing America’s founding fathers.
But as the blockbuster musical looks to expand to other cities, the casting notice with its call for “non-white” performers looks problematic to civil rights attorney Randolph McLaughlin.
“What if they put an ad out that said, ‘Whites only need apply?’” said McLaughlin, of the Newman Ferrara Law Firm. “Why, African-Americans, Latinos, Asians would be outraged.”
McLaughlin believes the ad violates the New York City Human Rights Law, which makes it unlawful “for an employer . . . because of the actual written or perceived . . . race of any person, to discriminate.”
Producer Jeffrey Seller defended the diversity of the “Hamilton” cast and the legality of the “non-white” casting notice.
“I stand by it and believe it to be legal,” he said.