Hamilton, the musical, quickly became the hottest ticket in town thanks largely in part to its fresh format of casting non-white actors to portray various American Founding Fathers and historical figures.
This approach, however, could put the musical's creator and leading star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, at risk for legal action. A new petition filed by one of the biggest cable operators in the nation claims that white actors should be clear to attack the play with discrimination lawsuits for excluding them from the casting process.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Charter Communications is telling the Supreme Court that if a recent Ninth Circuit ruling is left in place, white actors screaming "reverse racism" could get their way.
In the petition, the cable operator is asking the court to tackle a $10 billion case asserting its First Amendment right to include racial considerations in determining what programming it should include in its roster.
Paul Clement, an attorney who was previously the solicitor general in the George W. Bush administration, is representing Charter Communications and recently released a statement regarding the petition.
"The musical 'Hamilton' is notable for its creator's decision to cast exclusively minority actors as the Founding Fathers," he said. "A refusal to contract with a white actor to play George Washington cannot be made an anti-discrimination violation without profoundly undermining First Amendment values."
In the Charter Communications legal brief, it was also noted that the Ninth Circuit ruling could allow unqualified white actors to become a part of the production.
"Allowing a discrimination lawsuit when race places a factor, however small, and ignoring editorial judgment rides roughshod over First Amendment projections," it reads. "It would allow even an objectively terrible white actor to bring an action for being denied a part in 'Hamilton' even if factors other than race would provide an obvious explanation for why the actor would not get a part as a Founding Father in the minority cast of 'Hamilton' [or in any kind of cast for any other play]."
In an effort to further prove their point, Charter Communications referred to popular African-American works like The Color Purple and Invisible Man, claiming they would be vastly different projects if they were written by white men.
Oh, the lengths some will go.
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