A Chicago comedy institution known for helping to launch the careers of numerous stars is facing serious accusations after a former actor and writer has sued the Second City over claims of discrimination and retaliation.
Scott Morehead claims he was subject to racial harassment during the 2016 run of “A Red Line Runs Through It” at the legendary theater.
“I think that he saw inappropriate behavior,” said attorney Aaron Maduff. “I think that he felt threatened physically.”
According to the lawsuit, Morehead, who is white, said cast member Aasia Bullock directed racial slurs and violent threats at him during the course of the production. He also said she physically threw her shoulder into his chest during a show.
“Scott had made complaints of the treatment he was getting. It fell on deaf ears,” Maduff said.
Maduff said the Second City eventually acknowledged Morehead’s complaints, but they replaced him with another actor without explanation. Later, Morehead was not offered a new acting contract.
“Whether or not your complaints are valid, if you're making an honest effort to resolve something that you feel is wrong, an employer should be trying to resolve it, not firing you for it,” Maduff said.
Second City said “it works diligently to ensure a safe and collaborative work environment for all our employees, including a no-tolerance policy of workplace violence and harassment.”
Bullock said she could not give a statement when contacted by NBC 5.
Morehead is suing in court for back pay, lost benefits and other damages. His lawyer said Morehead is going to have to rearrange his life, but he wants future employers to know the fact that he was taken out of A Red Line Runs Through It is not a reflection of his talent.