Over the past couple of weeks, more and more information has been coming out about the alleged treatment of Chicago cast member Jeffrey Loeffelholz which, according to people close to him, caused him to commit suicide last month.
As more details are released and other former cast members are coming forward with their own experiences of bullying at the hands of Chicago leadership, the anger towards the producers and creative team is only getting more heated.
Now, with the addition of a reported legal battle between lawyers, some are saying enough is enough and are encouraging a boycott of the show.
Boycotts are always a touchy subject. While they intend to hurt the wallets of those responsible for the issues at hand, they also hurt the wallets of those who had nothing to do with it in the first place. I am in full support of ceasing to line the pockets of production officials who stood idly by while their casts and crew were abused. At the same time, I don't want to put the casts and crew who were abused in a tough spot financially. So I see the arguments for and against a boycott.
However, I do believe there needs to be some sort of stance put forward by the theatre community that sends a clear message that this type of treatment, of any theatrical employee, is wrong. More importantly, it can't wait for lawyers to hem and haw over something like this. Regardless of the which details of Jeffrey Loeffelholz's ordeal are true or not, what is abundantly clear is that bullying within the theatre community is very real and needs to be addressed.
Theatre industries, especially Broadway, have a rich history of trying to sweep issues under the rug and hoping that furor dies down. It can't happen this time. Too many careers are ending because of the actions of a few.