Readers Write: “The Lion King” racial discrimination is wrong

Readers Write: “The Lion King” racial discrimination is wrong


The old “Jim Crow South” discrimination against people of color has moved north to discriminate against whites’ Caucasian American sign language. Interpreter Keith Wann for the Broadway production of “The Lion King” was fired by the nonprofit Theater Development Fund. They are responsible for providing staff to perform Broadway shows with American sign language interpreters.

The nonprofit claims that only an African-American interpreter was appropriate for this play. Skin color should never be used in the hiring or firing of employees. The same holds true for ethnicity, age, sex, sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs. Could only Jews appear in “Fiddler on the Roof,” Mormons in “The Book of Mormon” or Italians in “The Godfather”?

Sen. Chuck Schumer proudly boasted in campaign TV commercials that he brought New York several hundred million federal dollars as a result of COVID-19. These funds were supposed to protect both Broadway theaters from closing and its employees losing their jobs. They were never meant to be used in discrimination by “The Lion King” producers and Theater Development Fund.

Will Schumer speak out on behalf of fired American sign language interpreter Keith Wann whose only crime was being born white? What about Attorney General Merrick Garland, along with the city, state and federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions? Both Albany and City Hall offer taxpayers subsidies worth several hundred million to Broadway. Will Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams say anything?

The late civil rights icon Rev. Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation wher they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” He never would have approved of reverse discrimination based on race.

Larry Penner

Great Neck

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