Equity's Minority Ethnic Members Committee Resigns Following Apology To Laurence Fox
As we previously reported, Christine Payne, general secretary of the actors' union Equity, said it was "a mistake to criticise a member of the profession" following tweets sent out by its minority ethnic members committee calling on actors to denounce Laurence Fox. Today, the union issued a full apology to Fox - and in response, the committee has resigned in protest.
The original tweets followed comments from Fox on the BBC's Question Time, claiming that Meghan Markle had not been the victim of racism. Payne admitted that Equity had deleted the tweets, but later released a statement saying that "racism is real" and is something that "splits communities".
However, today Equity issued the following statement: "On 17 January a series of tweets were posted by the @EquityMEM Twitter account about Laurence Fox's appearance on BBC Question Time. We are sorry that in the tweets he was called a 'disgrace' by Equity. It was a mistake for Equity as an organisation to criticise him in this way. Nothing in Equity's later statement was intended as a slur on his character or views or to suggest that he should be denied the ability to work. We would like to make that clear. Equity and Laurence Fox condemn prejudice unequivocally in all its forms."
The committee then resigned in protest, as announced on Twitter:
It is with deep regret that, following @EquityUK's statement this morning, all members of Equity's recently renamed Race Equality Committee (formerly the Equity Minority Ethnic Members Committee) feel we have no choice but to resign as committee members. https://t.co/gLnKJatSw7- Equity Race Equality Committee (@EquityREC) March 13, 2020
Actor and writer Daniel York Loh added the following response on Twitter:
I've resigned as @EquityREC Chair over this. @Equity and La*rence F*x can issue as many joint statements and apologies as they like. It's nothing to do with me and I apologise for nothing #NotInMyName https://t.co/q9aempoTTU- Daniel York Loh ? (@danielfyork) March 13, 2020
Equity's statement also met with criticism from those in the industry, with some pointing out that they was siding with someone who isn't even in the union.
He's not even a member of Equity- Vinay Patel (@VinayPatel) March 13, 2020
F*x isn't even an equity member. You are siding with racists over your members. This is awful. https://t.co/kDbT55jgAo- morgan ??? (@mogster) March 13, 2020
Equity was 100% right to call on its members to denounce @LozzaFox for his wrong opinions and white privilege.By apologising, they are now suggesting that he should be allowed to say whatever he likes. That's not how a free society works. I demand an apology for this apology. https://t.co/Q5NwFiDnK1 - Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) March 13, 2020