A theater actor has been fired after confronting an anti-gay heckler during a local production of "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof."
Audience member Tim Sullivan told L.A. Weekly that a man in the crowd at the Repertory East Playhouse in Newhall, California, was allegedly drunk and heckling the cast members during the performance Saturday. At one point in the show -- which is about familial dynamics and sexual repression in a Mississippi home -- he said the man yelled the word "fag."
That is when actor John Lacy, who played Big Daddy in the show, jumped off stage and confronted the individual.
“I gave him a little shove to let him know I was there,” Lacy told Santa Clarita's SCVTV, “and because of the alcohol, he went down pretty easily.”
The man was removed, and the play continued. It ended with a standing ovation from the crowd, SCVTV noted. But things took a sour turn when Lacy was fired from the production following the incident.
Actresses Missy Kaye and Emily Low both spoke out on Facebook against Lacy's actions, according to TheWrap.
“By you jumping off the stage and putting your hands on this guy put the whole theatre in jeopardy, cast and audience, and to me that is unforgivable,” Kaye wrote. “What if this guy had a weapon? Did that cross your mind?”
However, fellow actor Anton Troy, who played Brick, stood in solidarity with Lacy and quit the show after Lacy was fired, TheWrap reports.
The Repertory East Playhouse sent out a press release saying the run of the Tennessee Williams' drama, which was set to end on June 14, has been suspended. The statement sent to SCVTV reads:
During that evening’s performance, an unruly patron allegedly made discriminatory comments that distracted audience members and a confrontation occurred between a member of the cast and the disturbing party. The management of the REP regrets that this situation was not brought to their attention sooner and would like to assure future audiences that disruptive behavior, including disparaging remarks from the audience, incidents of bullying or hate speech, and racial, discriminatory or homophobic utterances, will not be tolerated and offending parties will be asked to leave the theatre.
Despite all this, Lacy says the response has been "phenomenal."
"I have spectacular friends and an extremely supportive family; those who know me know my character and have applauded my stance," he told The Huffington Post on Tuesday. But he said a revival of the show is unlikely: "Unfortunately, the fact that two of our cast fractured the spirit of our unity and chose to condemn my actions rather than support makes 'getting the band back together' next to impossible."