White Broadway Sign-Language Interpreter Settles Discrimination Lawsuit After Backlash From Deaf Com
After receiving backlash, a white sign-language interpreter quietly settled his discrimination case against the theatre company he accused of letting him go over skin color.
Keith Wann, 53, filed a lawsuit two weeks ago but has since announced the suit has been settled. The announcement comes after the case received immense backlash from the deaf community.
"The matter between myself and TDF has been resolved, and both parties are satisfied with the discussions that ensued," Wann posted on social media. "I look forward to the review of the process that will come from this to hopefully benefit the interpreting profession."
Wann began working as an ASL interpreter for The Lion King in March. According to the lawsuit against the Theatre Development Fund and emails obtained by the New York Post, Wann and another interpreter were asked to leave the show in April so black sign-language experts could replace them.
"The majority of the characters in the Lion King are black actors, and the content takes place in Africa," Shelly Guy, the director of ASL for The Lion King, wrote to Lisa Carling, director of TDF's accessibility programs, on April 1. "Keith Wann, though an amazing ASL performer, is not a black person and therefore should not be representing Lion King."
Wann's decision to take the issue up in court received immense backlash from the deaf community. Many black ASL figures expressed their belief that Wann should step aside for other interpreters of color.
Deaf radio host Randy Spann said he was "disgusted" by Wann and that he should "let black people get their opportunities to get a spotlight."
Deaf performer Raven Sutton posted a viral TikTok asking white interpreters to know their audience and understand when it's not the right fit.
"This is not discrimination," she signed in the video. "Reverse racism is not a thing."
Wann acknowledged the backlash in a Facebook post.
"Over the last week, I have seen a lot of pain in our community and have also seen some much-needed conversations," he wrote. "It is unfortunate that assumptions were made, and conclusions were drawn without all the facts."
"For those of you who know me, you know I have deep roots in the Deaf community and, as my true friends and wife can attest, I have been an ally to the BIPOC community for decades," Wann added.
"As someone who has been involved in the industry for many years, I have a history of recommending BIPOC interpreters and sharing my experiences to help add to the theater roster," he continued. "I have never fought for myself to take space in any majority black production, nor have I ignored the need to amplify BIPOC interpreters."
"Again, I support Deaf, Deaf-BIPOC, and BIPOC performers and interpreters."
The post White Broadway Sign-Language Interpreter Settles Discrimination Lawsuit After Backlash From Deaf Community appeared first on Baller Alert.