Romeo & Juliet Producers Condemn “Deplorable Racial Abuse” Against Cast Member


The production of “Romeo & Juliet” starring Tom Holland and Sex Education’s Francesca Amewudah-Rivers is facing “a barrage of deplorable racial abuse online directed towards a member of our company,” the Jamie Lloyd Company in London said in a statement shared to X on Friday.

The statement continues:

“We are working with a remarkable group of artists. We insist that they are free to create work without facing online harassment. We will continue to support and protect everyone in our company at all costs. Any abuse will not be tolerated and will be reported. Bullying and harassment have no place online, in our industry or in our wider communities. Our rehearsal room is full of joy, compassion and kindness. We celebrate the extraordinary talent of our incredible collaborators. The ‘Romeo & Juliet’ community will continue to rehearse with generosity and love, and focus on the creation of our production.”

While the cast member remains unnamed in the statement, the production company’s notice follows widespread online racist harassment of actor Francesca Amewudah-Rivers, who is set to make her West End debut as Juliet alongside Holland.

Wellbeing in the Arts, an organization which aims to provide “mental health and wellbeing support for individuals, organizations and productions in the arts” also issued a statement on Friday, in support of Amewudah-Rivers, “The racist abuse aimed at Francesca Amewudah-Rivers for her casting in Jamie Lloyd Co’s Romeo and Juliet is abhorrent, but is the experience many artists of colour have after landing a notable role. It has to stop, no-one should have to face such vitriol for doing their job.”

Elsewhere on the West End, two “Black Out” (nights set aside to center Black-identifying audiences) performances of Jeremy O. Harris‘ “Slave Play” have come under fire from U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak‘s office. “Clearly, restricting audiences on the basis of race would be wrong and divisive,” a spokesperson for Sunak’s office said. The “Black Out” performances are not new, Harris held such events in Broadway for “Slave Play,” and in London for his production of “Daddy.”

‘Romeo & Juliet’ is set to open at London’s Duke of York’s Theatre May 23 through August 3, to a sold out run.

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