We have been asked by our colleagues at FairPlay MN to speak about when someone is banned from the theater for sexual harassment or assault. First we would like to explain that the management team of HUGE Theater is not a court of law, we have never banned someone as a punishment. That is outside our scope. In the few instances when we have banned someone, it has been to protect their victims, protect potential victims, and to reclaim our space as a safe place.
Our protocol for sexual harassment investigations ends with various possible outcomes. We first take into account the wishes of the known victims as to the outcome that would be best for them. Then we consider what would make sense to protect our community.
When we first began sexual harassment investigations a couple of years ago, there were cases in which we banned someone for a limited amount of time – the logic was in some cases a person needs a window of time to examine their behavior and do some research and education, and their victims need some space. When the ban expires the individual would be free to submit shows to HUGE, attend shows, perform as part of a cast, or audition for shows. The report we took in these cases had a list of people with whom we would never cast them, or put together in an audition group. In all honesty, although we do not want to rule it out because there may be cases where it is the victim’s preferred solution, we do not know if we would consider a limited time ban again, for the logical questions that it raises: how do you measure if someone is no longer a risk, and how do you notify anonymous reporters that the ban has expired so they may see that person at HUGE again?
We have permanently banned very few individuals. Whether it is a permanent ban or a limited ban, the community is not notified of the ban. It is our job to make sure the ban is enforced, we would never put that work on community members. We alert the front of house staff, the house managers and staff. We also have alerted directors, casts and team members who had active shows which would require either recasting or cancelation.
We are always working to make HUGE an even safer space where creativity and artistic expression can thrive. Please let us know if you have any questions or if there is anything you suggest we do to further this mission. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and the anonymous feedback form is on the bottom of the contact page if you click the link above.