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LA STAGE Alliance Responds to Ovation Awards Controversy

Several theatres are revoking their membership to the LA Stage Alliance due to a number of slights made during last night's Ovation Awards. 

LA STAGE Alliance Responds to Ovation Awards Controversy

Several theatres are revoking their membership to the LA Stage Alliance due to a number of slights made during last night's Ovation Awards.

The LA STAGE Alliance Board of Directors has responded to the controversy with the following statement:

"LA STAGE Alliance takes full responsibility for the mistakes made in the Ovation Awards presentation on Tuesday, March 30. We sincerely apologize to Jully Lee and to the AAPI community, as well as to our members, voters, and the community at large.

A written apology can only do so much, especially when there are underlying issues that need to be addressed. LA STAGE Alliance takes its dedication to equality and support of its diverse theatre community and representations seriously. With that in mind, effective immediately, LA STAGE Alliance will focus on undertaking a visible and transparent transformation so it can be held accountable to the community it serves.

To do so, LASA will:

  1. Create a task force of diverse theatre representatives and artists to review, assess, and modify LASA's mission, services, and allyship to the BIPOC and marginalized community.
  2. Create an advisory board with diverse theatre stakeholders to review and revise its Ovations Awards policies and procedures and assure adequate BIPOC representation on all Ovation committees.
  3. Create an operations plan that supports its members, voters, and programs at large.
  4. Create new partnerships and develop relevant programs for the benefit and equitable treatment of all its members.

These are just initial steps. During these meetings, hard issues will come to light and they will be faced head on. In reaching the ultimate goal of LA STAGE Alliance becoming the service organization the theatre community needs, LASA looks forward to the community's participation in finding the solutions."

East West Players announced its departure from the LA Stage Alliance earlier today. Actress Jully Lee was nominated for an award for her performance in East West Players' Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, a play that featured an entirely Asian American company. However, when the time came for the award to be announced, Lee's name was mispronounced, and a photo of her castmate was shown on screen in place of her own.

LA Stage Alliance took to social media to post a public apology to Lee, and to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

"There is NO excuse for mispronouncing Ms. Lee's first name nor for the error in the image used. We take full responsibility for the oversight and we deeply regret any harm this may have caused. We will continue to take appropriate steps to correct this issue."

Following East West Players departure, several other LA companies followed suit including Boston Court Pasadena and A Noise Within.

Deaf West Players also announced its departure citing lack of accessibility at the event. According to the company, their request for closed captioning and ASL interpreting for the deaf members of their company went unacknowledged.

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