Cancel-culture: Theater in Minnesota cancels upcoming production of Cinderella because ‘cast was too white’

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CHANHASSEN, MN– A dinner theater company in Minnesota has cancelled its upcoming performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella over concerns regarding the cast’s lack of diversity.

In a release from the organization, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres (CDT) said, in part:

“Our hope in beginning the production process again with a new title will allow us to put into practice an intentional process based on the work we have been doing towards equity and inclusivity.”

The statement added:

“We did not cancel Cinderella because of content. We are looking forward to bringing it to our stage in the future, but we as a company decided our original casting didn’t go far enough in our commitment and instead of waiting another full year to implement these important changes, we chose now.”

In a recent interview with the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, the theater’s artistic director, Michael Brindisi, said the musical’s casting fell far short of the company’s diversity goals. He said in a statement:

“It was 98 percent white. That doesn’t work with what we’re saying we’re going to do.”

According to reports, the theater also announced new diversity protocols it will be implementing going forward, including bringing black, indigenous, and other artists of color to analyze future productions before they begin the casting process. The organization said:

“We believe this new process will allow us to tell the story in a rich way and allow us to live our our commitment to identity-conscious casting and becoming a more intentionally anti-racist theater.”

Brindisi said the company considered recasting the show, but instead chose to “scrap this and start fresh with a clean slate.” He added:

“Some of the actors were disappointed, but every one to a person said they got it and that they respected the very hard decision we had to make.”

To help foster those moves, the theater company has hired diversity consultant Kelli Foster Warder, who will devise a plan to address changes in how the theater operates in the future. Brindisi said:

“We wanted to meet it head on. We need to fix things and we’re going to do just that.”

In part of the theater company’s release, their statement said:

“It is important to note that we are also in the process of analyzing other production areas that have been brought to out attention including auditions and rehearsals. We are committed to safe, equitable spaces in all areas and we will continue to update our DEI statement as we explore and refine these plans with our teams.”

The theater will produce a revival of the musical Footloose! in place of Cinderella. Their website added:

“We are excited to announce that following The Music Man, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres will be producing Footloose! This show was hugely successful for us when it ran 11 years ago and we are excited to explore it again in a new context.”

In February, CDT announced that The Music Man would reopen July 2nd at 50 percent capacity assuming it meets both the COVID guidelines at the time and gains the approval of the actors’ union. 

Brindisi said that several actors are not able to rejoin The Music Man in July and that he is looking to add more diversity to that show when he recasts the roles. As stated on their website:

“Details about auditions will be announced in the early summer. In addition, we will soon be accepting submissions for replacements in our current production of The Music Man, with a strong priority placed on casting BIPOC artists to join the cast.”

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Tufts University removes presidents’ portraits because they’re all white, discusses disarming campus police

MEDFORD, MA – In an effort to adhere to being an “anti-racist institution,” Tufts University officials decided to remove portraits depicting the university’s former presidents because they just so happen to portray “all white males.”

Apparently Tufts University is allocating several million dollars, $25 million reportedly, to get on the good foot with respect to endeavors that “advance equity, inclusion, healing, and justice,” for the broader community, student base and alumni.

With said money in concurrence with vague aspirations to “find and eradicate any structural racism at Tufts,” the university proclaims that faculty will unearth and obliterate all things and practices deemed to be harmful or insensitive to “marginalized” voices and communities.

Clearly, it’s the university’s money and they’re free to spend it on whatever they please.

But among this effort to become an anti-racist institution, it was decided that paintings of the university’s last 11 presidents needed to be removed from the Coolidge Room in Ballou Hall because they happen to be white men.

Back in September of 2020, university officials concluded that a room hardly frequented by students at the university simply bore too many depictions of white men, and promptly had them removed.

The justification for the move was relayed by officials as such:

“While not intended as such, the installation of all 11 past presidents installed in a single room has, over time, unwittingly presented a deeply homogeneous picture of power.

“While historically accurate, we must consider how spaces impact our community today—what is the message being communicated to those of us who are not white men? Where do we belong? And, importantly, is that the message that one of our more ceremonial spaces should be relaying?”

While this is ultimately the decision of the university, it also just gives off the feeling of being a combination of a savior-complex alongside elements of soft bigotry. University pundits feel the need to protect minority students from innocuous paintings of prominent university figures of the past based solely on concerns that the racial make-up of these previous presidents might be off-putting to minorities.

So, the room that once hosted these depictions of previous university presidents is going to be transformed into “a series of rotating exhibitions” that will instead depict “the story of underrepresented communities at Tufts”:

“While the Coolidge Room will no longer house portraits of former university presidents, it remains the symbolic center of the university and its seat of power.

“As such, the Public Art Committee recommends that the space reflect the work happening on campus and that new installations must center marginalized voices from the university’s past and present.

“To that end, we recommend a series of rotating exhibitions of images and objects from the University Archives that tell the story of underrepresented communities at Tufts.”

As for the fate of the old portraits that once adorned the Coolidge Room at the university, the university is still trying to determine where eight of the 11 will be portraits will be hung as three have been placed elsewhere within Ballou Hall:

“For the 11 presidential portraits that were formerly housed in the Coolidge Room, three of them—Jean Mayer, John DiBiaggio, and Larry Bacow—will remain at Ballou Hall.

“The PAC recommends re-siting individual paintings when and if possible, and we are exploring these options with locations and academic departments as appropriate.”

The bizarre steps being considered don’t just end with paintings being removed in the quest to become an anti-racist institution. The university is also considering a complete disarming of campus police officers

This notion is being considered by university officials because “recent events have led many universities and their communities to reconsider the need and appropriateness of armed officers.”

According to the Campus Safety and Policing report, armed police officers on campus “often cause apprehension and concern for members of our community.”

After employing research into potential campus police controversies, we at Law Enforcement Today couldn’t identify any instances when Tufts’ campus police actually shot a student. So, it’s unclear where this “apprehension” is actually stemming from with respect to armed campus police officers at the university. 

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In other news related to college-related fiascos, a university president literally issued an apology because of a snowball fight earlier in 2021 that caused outrage over pandemic concerns. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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LYNCHBURG, VA – Things snowballed out of hand at Liberty University on Sunday and forced the university president to issue an apology. An uproar grew after students were photographed having a massive snowball fight without taking pandemic precautions.

Photographs of students gathered without masks and without social distance were shared on social media following a massive snowball fight on the university campus. Liberty University Acting President Jerry Prevo issued a statement taking full responsibility for the lack of precautions and called the event “a mistake”:

“We made a mistake in not enforcing the guidelines that we have followed routinely and sincerely for these many months. We have had a strong record of compliance and containment of COVID-19 from the start, and we want our community to know that Sunday’s snowball event was not done with a heart of defiance.

“The mistake was one of being caught up in the moment of the day. I and my leadership team apologize for not leading our students to abide by COVID-19 protocols during this event. I am truly sorry for how this activity may put our students and university in a negative light, potentially diminishing the hard work of many dedicated employees and volunteers.”

Prevo explained that Lynchburg had not seen a large snowfall in a couple of years, and he wanted the students to have a chance to enjoy it. He pointed out that much of the student body came from parts of the country where it never snowed. He described how he started a small snowball fight, and it grew:

“I donned my gloves and coat and headed outside and immediately engaged in some snowball fights with a few students. From that small beginning, I invited them to meet on the front lawn to continue the fun with more students. The student body took to the idea, they showed up in large numbers and had the snowball fight. I stood front and center and led this event.”

Not everyone shared Prevo’s enthusiasm for the snowball fight, and a Virginia Health Department spokesperson said they received over 115 complaints about the student gathering. Most of the complaints were because students were not masked, were not social distancing, and the maximum number of people permitted to gather by COVID-19 restrictions was greatly surpassed.

The spokesman said the department was discussing the incident internally and no decision had been made on whether action would be taken against the university:

“As following the public health guidelines is essential to containing this pandemic, we share the complainants’ concerns about the potential for COVID transmission and are consulting the VDH central office on our response.”

Prevo admitted that the students did not follow the Governor’s pandemic restrictions and failed to obey campus COVID-19 rules as well.

“I messed up. We did not think through or communicate the need to wear facial coverings and remain 6 feet apart in compliance with Virginia Governor’s Executive Orders for the suppression of the spread of COVID-19 or even our own COVID-19 Operations Plan. And the size of the group was not in compliance either.

“I am firmly committed to the health and safety of our students at Liberty University, as well as their spiritual and emotional health. We hope to foster more fun and excitement for our students in the days ahead but will do so while abiding by our health and safety protocols.”

Prevo also said that all social media posts made about the snowball fight, including some by him, were taken down to avoid future issues:

“In conjunction with this announcement, we have also taken down the social media posts about this event, which could tend to undermine a culture of compliance.”

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