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Former Proctor's employee alleges racism

Jun 09, 2020 6:15 am
Steve Barnes is reporting for the Times Union Zoe Lewis, a former employee of Proctors’ School of the Performing Arts, has alleged in an online video that she witnessed or was subjected to racism from her colleagues, including when she taught acting and dance to middle-school students. Proctors CEO Philip Morris posted an online apology in response and promised to implement changes. “I'm shocked and incredibly moved by what happened. I and we apologize," Morris wrote. Lewis worked for Proctors for about eight months, from last summer through mid-March, working part-time, a theater spokesperson said. Lewis said a colleague told her “they felt stress about having to think about (race), but now that (she) was there, they wouldn’t have to;” an instructor allegedly referred to a black student as looking like a “thug;” black students were reprimanded for behavior that white students were not. She also detailed her experience interacting with a colleague who was indifferent to concerns raised over the casting of black students as monkeys in a musical production she was choreographing. Lewis described her experience during a June 5 live video transmission on Facebook. The video has now been viewed 18,000 times and drawn more than 800 reactions, comments and shares. In the 28-minute video, Lewis expressed fear of professional repercussions resulting from her allegations against the region’s largest performing-arts organization; her accumulated anger at what she experienced; and frustration over the response from management after she relayed her concerns. Read the full story in the Times Union.
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