- 02 Feb 22
"That fellow performers should be victims of such despicable behaviour, after bringing such joy and pleasure to Dublin theatre goers, is regrettable," says the Irish Equity president, Gerry O’Brien.
Irish Equity – which represents professionals in the live performance and theatre sector in Ireland – has issued a statement, after performers and crew of The Lion King "were subjected to racist abuse in Dublin."
According to a statement from Dublin's Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, shared earlier this week, members of the cast and crew of the popular musical were "subjected to racial abuse on their journey home from the theatre."
The musical is currently on tour of Ireland and the UK, which includes multiple shows at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, from December 31 to February 4.
“On behalf of the executive and members of Irish Equity, we wish to express our sadness at the reports that members of the cast and crew of 'The Lion King' were subjected to racial abuse while returning home after a performance," says Irish Equity president, Gerry O’Brien. "This behaviour is unacceptable.
“That fellow performers should be victims of such despicable behaviour, after bringing such joy and pleasure to Dublin theatre goers, is regrettable. Irish Equity stands with the cast and crew of the 'Lion King', the management of the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and Disney productions in calling out and condemning racism in all its iterations.
“We sincerely hope that their remaining performances in Dublin are hugely successful and that the good memories of their time in Ireland outweigh the unpleasantness of the shameful behaviour of the individuals responsible for this abuse.”
Irish singer-songwriter Erica Cody has also responded to the news, which she describes as "exhausting and embarrassing."
"An uphill battle..." she adds. "I just don’t have the words. All my love to the cast and crew of The Lion King that were subjected to this abuse. And people wonder why representation and accountability is so important. To be quiet is to be complicit."
The Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland has also condemned the "really appalling incident." Taking to Twitter, she's calling on anyone with relevant information to contact Pearse Street Garda Station.
Stephenson Ardern-Sodje – who plays Simba in the production – has also addressed the incident over Instagram – noting that members of the company "were subjected to racial and homophobic abuse, both verbally and with the threat of violence".
"It was a huge blow that hit us hard as a company, opening old wounds for many, and reminding us that, while our talent and efforts to entertain are often welcomed by the world, that doesn't always mean our humanity is recognised," he continued.