BroadwayRadio Critic Body Shames Performers in Review

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On this past week’s episode of BroadwayRadio’s “This Week on Broadway”, critic Peter Filichia decided to including body shaming in his review of Camp Morning Wood: A Very Naked Musical, going as far as to comment on the size of performers’ genitals and repeatedly calling one of them, “substantially overweight.”

The musical, which concluded its limited engagement on July 7, centers on a gay couple who decide to escape the city for a weekend camping in the woods to reconnect and unplug but get caught up in an adventure they never expected by coming, find themselves stranded outside a gay nudist colony. Many of the performers appear fully nude in the production.

In the truly “WTF” audio clip, Filichia states,

“I would think for a production like this, I would think there would really be a concerted effort to find men who are astonishingly endowed and that was not the case here. And that might be one of the reasons why it didn’t catch on.”

BroadwayRadio founder and host James Marino, chimes with by smugly asking “So should we say these people were miscast?”

“Yes, I think so,” Filichia replies.

Later, he twice labels a performer(identified as Anthony Logan Cole) as “substantially overweight” while trying to credit the actor for having courage to perform in such a show, given his size. As if he should somehow hide his body due to his size.

“I admire he’s able to get up there being overweight…substantially, in fact,” Filichia states. “It indicates that a lot of actors will do a lot to be in a show rather than wait tables.”

In response to the growing outrage, Marino has deleted the segment from the episode. However the clip can be heard above.

Obviously, this is appalling and goes beyond the quasi-veiled body shaming we’ve been seeing in reviews for the past couple of years, but this is unprecedented. Filichia is explicit in his remarks and openly ponders if the size of the performers’ genitals are the reason a show is closing. I can’t believe I just typed that sentence. But body shaming anyone of any gender identity, let alone mocking their genitalia, in a review is an egregious overstep in the role of a critic. It can be incredibly damaging to actors who are already putting themselves in a vulnerable position. Given Filichia’s years of experience at The Star-Ledger, I figured he would know better.

What should be pointed out here is that Filichia didn’t care to confirm that the show was going to close July 7, no matter who was cast.

What is also shocking is the behavior of James Marino. As founder of BroadwayRadio and host of the program, I was surprised to hear him so gleefully join in on shaming this cast. Also, given that this show is pre-recorded, I’m astonished that Marino just didn’t edit this entire part out. I have to question the decision making there.

Thankfully and unsurprising, cast members of this show are calling out Filichia and BroadwayRadio. Anthony Logan Cole took to Twitter to respond.

Others have also jumped on tweeting their outrage.

It’s unknown why Filichia decided to concentrate more on the size of the performers’ bodies than the actual performance itself. Maybe he was trying to be controversial? Maybe BroadwayRadio is trying to get more listens? Or maybe they didn’t see anything wrong with body shaming? Either way, it’s absolutely uncalled for and problematic.

Responding to the escalating outrage, BroadwayRadio issued a statement on their Facebook page.

This is an awful apology. First of all, they don’t specifically name the shamed performers. Second, they don’t mention Marino’s comments. Remember, he gleefully joined in as well. Finally, the apology makes no mention of Filichia’s comments about the other performers.

This apology shows a lack of acknowledging the severity of what Filichia and Marino did. This statement also doesn’t explain how the both of them lacked the common decency to recognize how terrible their comments were and edit them out of the show before broadcasting it. That line of decision making is unacceptable.

This statement lacks anything of true remorse. If I were the performers, I wouldn’t go near accepting this apology.

UPDATE:7/10.19

This morning, BroadwayRadio released their latest podcast which they promised would include a formal apology. I listened to it, so you don’t have to. Once again, it doesn’t say much.

If you want to listen to the whole clip, you can listen to it here.