Regarding the Chicago Profiles Theatre Abuse Story: Where is the Personal Responsibility?

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The cast of Killer Joe. From left: Cox, Howie Johnson, Claire Wellin, Somer Benson, and Kevin Bigley. "It's vicious and real!" one blogger wrote of the production.

What everyone seems to be either ignoring or intentionally skirting with this bizarre story coming out of Chicago is this:

These were all consenting adults.

Clearly this Darrell W. Cox dude is some kind of messianic, power-hungry, disturbed freak and it’s right that he’s been found out and called out, but these were not children in these shows, these were adults, and they all decided to just go along with all this crap?

Take a look at this from the very long and thorough article at the Reader:

But something troubling was occurring behind the scenes of Killer Joe, something that was part of a long-standing pattern of abusive conditions at Profiles for nearly two decades. In extensive interviews conducted over the past year, more than 30 former Profiles cast and crew members described in disturbingly similar terms what they suffered or witnessed while working at the theater. They alleged that, since the 1990s, Cox has physically and psychologically abused many of his costars, collaborators, unpaid crew members, and acting students, some of whom also became romantically involved with Cox while under his supervision at the theater. Others in key roles in the theater, they say, did little if anything to stop it or turned a blind eye altogether. Although the source material Profiles favored was often violent and misogynistic, the quality of its shows and the critical acclaim they garnered—coupled with a culture of fear and silence that developed inside the theater—allowed bad behavior to flourish behind the scenes, unbeknownst to audiences or the media.

Was everyone hypnotized and mesmerized like some kind of Manson Family Member? Were all these women and stage managers and directors bedazzled by all the attention and full houses to the point where they simply had to submit to the abuse? Were they drugged?

C’mon, people, where is the personal responsibility?

And you know what, if these non-Equity shows can’t seem to police themselves (though it looks like they are now trying), then in many ways it makes the case that perhaps these kinds of productions are in dire need of “adult” supervision ala Equity.

Take a look at this:

Fearing personal or professional retaliation, few witnesses ever came forward.

Now, a group of actors, including Benson and Wellin, have decided to share their stories. In doing so, they join a burgeoning national movement to protect actors and crew members from exploitation and harassment in the workplace.

Over the past two years, theater professionals have pressed their unions and other organizations, through petitions and direct appeals, to take an active stand against abuse within their community. This includes a petition against workplace harassment created by the Lilly Awards Foundation that has since been signed by more than 500 actors, tech workers, and activists. Recently, Actors’ Equity, the actors’ union, featured an article on addressing sexual harassment and provided a list of resources in Equity, the monthly magazine that goes out to its 50,000 members.

While Actors’ Equity has extensive rules and codes of behavior that cover everything from auditions to closings, including procedures for filing official complaints, these safeguards aren’t available to individuals or institutions not affiliated with the union, so-called non-Equity actors and theaters.

The movement has now turned its attention to non-Equity theaters, with their relative lack of protections and safeguards. Here in Chicago, more than 700 actors and other theater professionals have joined together to form Not in Our House, a support group to deal with the aftereffects of abuse and to establish a code of conduct for non-Equity theaters. Profiles Theatre joined Equity in 2012, after many of the behind-the-scenes problems had occurred. Cox himself is not a member.

We certainly have our Cox-like characters here in LA: the Kenne Guillory’s and Zaccahrin Thibodeou’s who are so deluded and twisted and self-indulgent that they think having improvised hot tub audtions are okay or that telling actors they will get paid and then bugging out on them is okay. Sounds like this Cox fellow is from the same ilk, but there seems to be all this blame flying around and none of it directed at those who were and are allowing these people to abuse them.

I mean look at this pity party:

Director Sarah Atkins, meanwhile, was nominated for a Jeff Award for “her” work on Julie Jensen’s Stray Dogs, which became Profiles’s first big hit. These phantom company members, whose names don’t appear in any public records, were an open secret within Profiles. Cox and Jahraus didn’t even create plausible biographies for them; Sarah Atkins, for instance, was said to have previously worked in a London theater that never existed.

“They had no way to know you’re going to be able to, years later, check up on it,” remembers Sara, a former girlfriend of Cox’s who was also a member of the company from 2000 to 2004. Sara and others asked to be identified by their first names out of fear of personal or professional retaliation.

Or this:

Actors in Chicago, especially female actors, feel they’re in a vulnerable position. There are only a few roles to go around to begin with, and no one wants to have a reputation as being “difficult” or a complainer. “It’s really hard to break in, and it is a very tight-knit community,” says Sue Redman, an actress and producer who now lives in LA, “and so having someone powerful say, ‘Yeah, your career is not going to happen if you say anything,’ I mean it’s a very real thing.”

“Difficult” or “a complainer”? Guy is putting his hands down your pants without permission, injuring people on stage and not rehearsing fight scenes and you’re worried about being “difficult”?

I’m sorry, but if you allow crap like this to happen, then YOU are to blame.

And don’t tell me I’m blaming the victim. A victim is a person who is abused or misused without their consent and beyond their control. That is not the case with a theater production where everyone is there of their own accord and acting from their own free will.

If this is a cautionary tale, it’s a cautionary tale about taking responsibility for your own career, your own craft, your own body and your own dignity.

And now I see that the critics are being blamed (or blaming themselves?) for not noticing.

Good Lord. Everyone blamed but the people directly involved, the ones who allowed themselves to be taken advantage of by this idiot Cox.

We have truly become a society of victims.

Comments (70)

Default user

I don’t agree with anything you’ve written in this article, but if we want to get technical, they actually WEREN’T all consenting adults. One of the survivors was 17 at the time of her relationship with Cox, who was then 41. And while the age of consent in Illinois is 17, it’s still illegal for anyone 18 or older to have sexual relations with someone 17 or younger if they hold a position of authority over them, which Cox certainly did.

Of course, the Reader article (and the problem in general) is about so much more than that, but even your core argument doesn’t hold a lot of water.

Default user

Dear Colin,

You do not know me. I am an artist and advocate in Chicago. I read your take on this issue and found it incredibly insulting and demeaning. Clearly you have no idea how intimidation, sexual manipulation and violence can affect a victim’s ability to step forward and report their case.

The article that was published took time, courage, legal consultation and a lot of interviews to be written. The reason this was swept under the rug is the same reason why so many women didn’t come forward about Bill Cosby until Hannibal Burress blew the lid off the issue.

It’s the reason why women don’t report rape. It’s the reason why Brock Allen Turner’s sentence just got shortened to 3 months.

You may think you are acting as the voice of reason here, but you are not. You sound foolish, and your feedback on this is a complete slap in the face to the victims of this crime. I’m sure you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this article, since it came out less than 24 hours ago.

So maybe you’ll want to take a step back and dig a little deeper. Your voice is dangerous.

U 35088 t 4659361

Mary and Dan – thanks for reading and commenting. I was a counselor for abused adolescent girls for three years and saw up close how abuse can affect the innocent girls of our society, especially at a young age, and how devastating sexual abuse, especially, can be to self-esteem, body image and a whole host of other issues. I am very well versed how this kind of abuse affects children.

Again, most of these “victims” were not children.

While it is of course even more egregious and criminal that a 17 year was affected by this (if Cox was molesting them at that age he should be arrested so thanks for that info Dan) most of these women were not that age. They were consenting adults in a production they chose to be in this show.

So again, where is the line where personal responsibility come into play?

Apparently when it comes to a successful theater production, that line is very fuzzy.

Default user

Your definition of the word victim is ignorant and obtuse.

If it is willfully so, then my guess is you are an abuser who uses this narrow definition to relieve your own guilt.

If it is not a willful rationalization of your own behavior, then please take this opportunity to check your privilege and educate yourself. You don’t get to define the word for the rest of the world. Learn what it really means.

Then apologize.

Default user

Colin,

Shame on you for perpetuating rape culture in a public forum.

You have decided to use your precious gift of free speech to trivialize and condemn the victims who were threatened, manipulated, and abused for years, and instead you “so bravely” tell these individuals to take personal responsibility. Take a look at yourself in the mirror and know that you are a dangerous voice that has no place being featured in any forum until you evolve as a human being. Clearly not everyone is afforded the luxury of feeling safe or able to escape an abusive situation, and it is our responsibility as a culture to take care of those individuals who are lucky enough to escape those situations and do our best to root out the evil causing those harms.

It took an unbelievable amount of bravery for these individuals to finally bring this systematic abuse to the public eye, despite their well documented efforts, and your lack of empathy/understanding is genuinely alarming. I hope you are able to evolve as a human being and move past this blatant ignorance.

Shame on you, Colin.

Default user

Why, hello there, Male Privilege. We’ve unfortunately been expecting your point of view on this story.

U 35088 t 4659361

Clearly you’re very familiar with the term, Frank. Thanks for the armchair analyzation.

U 35088 t 4659361

And that will be my final word on the matter. All I wanted to say is already in the article. Feel free to break out the torches and pitchforks, folks. I’m used to it. I do live in Los Angeles after all.

Default user

We have become less a society of victims than we have a society of victim blamers. And so very often the people doing the blaming seem to be middle aged white men. I am embarrassed to share a demographic with you.

Default user

Colin, you’re a disgrace.

Default user

All I can say over the screaming in my head is, I’m just glad that you are no longer working with victims of abuse.

I debated hard on staying quiet, but since I’m an adult, I’m speaking up. This is a new low.

Default user

Shhh, Colin. Shhh.

Default user

“Armchair analyzation.” That’s rich coming from the author of this article.

Default user

Shocking. The Colin Mitchell Blog has become grosser than usual because no one’s been reading it lately. Can we please stop giving a shit about anything this sad little man writes?

Default user

I saw the Reader article interviews AS taking personal responsibility. And better late than never. You, I’m sure, are aware that when something is out on the Internet and publications, it’s open to reactions of every kind. Do you think it’s easy to come forward and admit you were manipulated, mistreated, enabling, etc, and put up with it for sometimes years at a time? I don’t. I think it takes some major balls. You think these people already don’t wish everyday that they had acted sooner? For the record, those who did were met with resistance or inaction. But this article has paved the way for quicker action. It’s easy for those of us not involved to ‘should’ all over the place. But what matters now is how things move forward from here. And I guarantee that because of these people coming forward and taking the responsibility to admit and learn from their past, that another 20 years will not go by again.

Default user

So you are pretty much on the wrong side of every part of everything: morality, history, and pretty much anything good you can think of, you’re on the BAD side of it. I’ve seen what happens in LA, and I know you let it happen cause everyone hopes they can be like, the next star of some long running vapid tv series or whatever. We have different standards here, and we actually care about people past their bankability or ability to be a pet or trophy wife or whatever version of sycophant.

Default user

Colin,
I don’t know who you are but this article is repulsive, insulting and ignorant.
You have officially hit the lowest possible standards of a human being ever to be recorded.
You need to think about this and immediately issue a retraction and apology to every victim of abuse and to the Chicago Theatre community.
This article is an embarrassment.

Default user

Good question. Where is Cox’s personal responsibility for being a predator and an abuser?

In your world, Colin, it seems that anyone who is abused by another human is to blame for taking it. Shame on you. The victim is never to be blamed.

Default user

Congrats on officially being part of the problem. This is gross beyond words.

Default user

You are a hack. You have always been a hack, and you will always be a hack.

This is a new low.

U 66916 t 7633116

This is beyond disappointing, Colin.

Default user

Dear Colin,

I hope your Los Angeles colleagues read your post and comments to see how unbelievably ignorant you are about what a victim is. It’s also fucking stupid of you to write this article when you obviously didn’t take the time to read the whole thing. Since you didn’t know one of the victims was 17, you clearly only read the first third of the article and felt like you “got the just.” You’re someone who takes everything at first glance without seeing the details. The best that could come out of your post will be that people will identify you as an ignorant shit.

Default user

I don’t know how getting a BA in psychology in 1988 and being a supervisor at a facility from 1989-1991 makes you an expert on the last 25 years of research on abused adults, but since you were never actually a psychologist or psychiatrist, you might want to brush the dust off your old scholastic instincts and do some research on the subject. I’m positive you’ll find those in the field with far more expertise than you have come to drastically different conclusions about who is culpable in an abusive environment.

I also find it a little ironic that you invoke the imagery of torches and pitchforks for your critics, which of course would posit you as an innocent, righteous victim. Cute.

Default user

There there, Colin. It’s gonna be all right. Someday SOMEONE will respect you and your terrible opinions.

Default user

“While it is of course even more egregious and criminal that a 17 year was affected by this (if Cox was molesting them at that age he should be arrested so thanks for that info Dan)…”

Hey, don’t thank me. Thank the writers of the article! After all, the info was right there from the beginning for anyone who actually felt like reading the whole thing.

“most of these women were not that age. They were consenting adults in a production they chose to be in this show.”

‘Gee, officer, why are ya arrestin’ me for statutory rape? Only ONE of them women was underage!’

Once again, this article is about so much more than the age of the consent, but you get the idea.

You ask at what point personal responsibility comes into play, and that’s exactly what the article is getting at. There’s been an environment created in certain arts organizations (and, let’s face it, outside of the arts as well) that makes people feel like they CAN’T speak out against this kind of shit. It’s certainly not everywhere, but it’s grossly prevalent. And it ain’t just Profiles either. Hell, it ain’t just Chicago. I can’t iterate that enough. This is not about shutting down a single company. It’s a piece of investigative journalism that digs deep into the various factors that birth an atmosphere where places like Profiles can thrive, especially in theatre.

Also—and I’m far from the first commenter to point this out—the article IS about these women and so many others finally feeling like they can take personal responsibility and fight back against what happened to them. And goddamn it, they should be commended for it.

Sorry for all the all-caps words. Would’ve preferred to use italics.

Default user

Jesus Christ, this is repulsive. How delusional does one have to be to say this whole thing is the victims’ fault and then immediately follow it with “And don’t tell me I’m blaming the victim”?? Good lord.

Default user

Ladies an gentlemen…HACK. He’s a hack. I don’t believe for one second that he was a “counselor.” As a LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) I am outraged that he is even using that as a means to dismiss his spew this drivel. Done and done. Never heard of him before will not think of him one second after I post this. Sad lonely man. LA can be rough dude but no need to write this dumb crap.

Default user

I’ve gotta say the thoughts expressed in this article are really disturbing. You have a bunch of actors saying they felt vulnerable, insecure, and intimidated by the nature of the business and you have a guy with a proven track record of taking advantage of that. I feel that you’re doing a heavy dose of blaming the victim, perpetuating rape culture, and making it harder for actors to come forward with stories of abuse.

I don’t know you, but this is no good, man. This is no good at all.

Default user

Yes! So on point! So enlightened! So LA!!!

Continue to perpetuate a culture that blames victims, you entitled swine.

Default user

I wish I hadn’t read this. You just made me feel a whole lot worse. Opinions like the ones expressed in your article make it really hard not to feel generally let down by men. And you probably think you are “one of the good ones.”

Default user

Ill-informed, half-baked, badly written garbage. You’re dumb and you suck.

Default user

Colin, how dare you? This piece of garbage you’ve written is abhorrent. It lacks merit – and any shred of journalistic integrity is missing. What happened to the 5 W’s?? Who? What? Where? When? And WHY? Your opinion means nothing if it is not substantiated. I will tell you right now, that YES, those individuals ARE VICTIMS, and NO they didn’t allow the abuse to “happen to them.” Do you know anything about domestic violence? Obviously not. Let me fill you in: the perpetrator creates a cycle of emotional, financial, and physical abuse that puts the victim in a terrifying position. There are several aspects to the “Cycle of Abuse.” First, the “walking on eggshells” phase; next, the “acute explosion” phase; then, the “honeymoon” phase; and finally, back to “walking on eggshells.” The victim is caught up in a cyclical maelstrom that completes its phases in a couple weeks, sometimes it takes YEARS. Either way, it is deliberately manipulative and abusive, leaving the victim confused and constantly at a loss. And you have the gall to sit there in JUDGEMENT? HOW FUCKING DARE YOU!! My God. You owe every one of these individuals an apology. I am gobsmacked. Seriously.

Default user

Stick a fork in yourself, Colin. You’re finally done.

Default user

You are a piece of victim blaming, rape culture upholding, human garbage.

Default user

I put you on the same platform as the judge in the Turner case. You. Are. Gross.

Default user

I put you on the same platform as the judge in the Turner case. You. Are. Gross.

Default user

Wow. Just. Wow.

Default user

I was in a production of No Exit years ago in which I had to have my face slapped. During rehearsals and tech, the slap was expertly choreographed and handled with care, but when the audiences showed up, my co-performer slapped the living crap out of me. Next night, same thing.

I waited until the pickup rehearsal, at which point I made it clear to my co-performer, director, lighting technician, whomever was there, that it was not cool and not to happen again. I further stated that, if it happened again, my good friends, my boots, were going to react.

I was not fearful of being seen as difficult – it doesn’t matter anyway, because performers are notoriously difficult – but I’ve always had a bit too much self-worth to willfully permit pain to be inflicted on me, even in the Creation of Art. I appear to be the minority here – but that’s fine, too, I didn’t become a performer so I could find self-worth through a hive mind.

For a list of people who don’t mind being emotional cattle, see above.

U 52071 t 4170222

Yeah, Colin. You’re the problem. I find it telling that all of the comments above reference pretty much either you or the victims only, leaving out of the conversation the actual perpetrator of these heinous acts. This is what makes it clear to me that you’re the problem. You done poked your awkward, dirty fingers into a gaping wound yet again in an attempt to examine something other than the major infection so that we don’t have to think anymore about how we’re dying from the actual abscess. Your finger hurt us, doc. And, since we can’t or won’t directly accuse or confront the true source of the injury, cos.. well, because, I guess… we’re coming for you from a distance, as a group, unified in our righteous indignation and enforced liberality so as to inform you that you, sir, are the problem. So, thanks for making that target bigger than the actual issue so we don’t have to look at the various options available to us in our steady climb up the ladder to adulthood and accountability. There are no grey areas when it comes to social structure in America, Colin. Put a band-aid on it next time and don’t bother with attempting to clean all the dirt from the wound. That part hurts.

Default user

I know this has been said before, but clearly you need to hear this as many times as possible: shame on YOU. We are not a society of victims, we’re a society of victim blamers. You have added to the unmeasurable pain of those affected by this heinous man/company. You disgust me.

Default user

Dear Colin,

Congrats. You have accomplished getting all the traffic to your site you wanted. Enjoy absolutely never working in Chicago, enjoy ruining any reputation you had, and enjoy knowing that an entire community of theatre artists now sees you for the victim blaming troll you really are.

Eat shit,

Mike

Default user

Colin, PEOPLE LIKE YOU are part of the reason people like Darrell Cox and Brock Turner feel like it’s okay to do what they do. Yes, they were consenting adults, but so is the office worker who lets her boss sexually harass her because she’s afraid of losing her job. It has to do with power, Mr. Mitchell, and obviously you have NO IDEA what it means to be in a position where you aren’t in it and it feels dangerous to act against the power. BOOO. BOOO. And boo. STOP BLAMING VICTIMS. TAKE RESPONSIBLITY FOR your actions, people in power!!!I hope none of my theatre students and friends who have moved to LA ever patronize anything you are a part of, and I plan on reaching out to them all.

Default user

Well, Colin, I always knew you were an asshat, but this article confirms it. I doubt you’ve ever been in a situation as vulnerable as most actors go through on a daily basis. We’re talking about insecure egos to begin with, and you want to blame them? You’re a fool and a tool.

U 52317 t 8171069

Delete your account, Colin.

Default user

Say goodbye to taken seriously for the rest of your career! Your privilege is showing…

Default user

I humbly implore everyone to stop leaving comments on this thread. I fully recognize the irony inherent in that statement, but I am certain this pretender is quite delighted by the attention this affords him as it validates his own self-anointed status as a genuine provocateur, instead of a second rate shock-jock with literary aspirations. Stop giving him exactly what he wants.

Default user

Hey Colin!
After you finish scraping the cum and cheeto dust off your hands would you like to come to Chicago and sit in on a discussion with #NotInOurHouse?
If you don’t have a place to crash, I’m sure Darrell has an extra couch for you to crash on! Or you can just set up shop in a dumpster where you belong!
All Best,
Go fuck yourself.

Default user

You’re absolutely right, it boggles the mind that grown adults (with a few exceptions) could possibly “put up with” such mistreatment. You’ve identified exactly what is so scary about this type of toxic environment and the effects that an abuser adept at gaslighting, intimidating and draining people can have.

People in these situations are systematically drained of their energy and self-worth, made to feel like they’re crazy and overreacting if they raise issues with it (especially since these types make such a point to show off what great people they are, when it suits their goals), are blamed for their own mistreatment, and isolated from their support systems, and told they have no other choice. Their whole reality is reshaped around them until things their former selves would NEVER have accepted suddenly seem like “just the way it is now.”

Having experienced this type of abuse, now I look back and of course I wish I’d left sooner. But that’s not how this shit works. That’s what’s so scary about it.

If someone puts that proverbial frog in the pot of cold water and heats it degree by degree – who the hell berates the frog for not noticing the heat instead of asking who put it there in the first place? This is pretty much the same kind of reasoning that looks at battered women and asks “why don’t they just leave?” You might not understand why, but that doesn’t make them stupid. It just shows you how insidious it is.

What is happening in the minds of people being abused by Cox that has let him get away with it for so long? That is what you should be asking questions about.

Default user

Hopefully the horde of backlash that you are receiving is opening your eyes to the ignorance of your point of view. Seriously, this is so fucked.

And the fact that you didn’t even know about the 17 year old indicates that YOU DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER TO READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE! WHAT THE FUCK!?

Default user

“And don’t tell me I’m blaming the victim.”

I don’t really have another word for it, but if you have a suggestion for another phrase that means the same thing, I’d be happy to use that.

Otherwise, you can probably avoid accusations of blaming the victim by not blaming the victim.

Default user

EZRA. The “target” isn’t ONE person. Colin and others saying what they said means that they are also “the target”. Because the target is people who are abusive and think that people in some way deserve what happened to them. He and you and Jason are all adding to that wound.

Default user

I think that one of the things that isn’t mentioned is that the theater community still has a reverence for this sort of “Method” acting (which is often taught in some form or another in many undergraduate programs), especially younger actors, and especially with this sort of acting is garnering positive attention. Younger actors coming out of training programs are used to their mentors/directors pushing them out of their comfort zones in the relative safety of the university system, and I think that that sort of trust carries over after they graduate, which leaves some actors open to this sort of abuse. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

Also, the theater community in general loves to promote collaboration, but more often it resembles a sort of hierarchy where the director/artistic director/star actor functions as a tacit demigod. I’m surprised that this sort of abuse of power isn’t more prevalent.

One final point. I’m reluctant to call them “consenting” adults. The women, more often than not, seemed to accept this behavior (at least in the theater) in the name of creating art, a goal that they thought they shared with Cox. But Cox’s goal was not art, but some sort of selfish perversion. They were duped. If you’re a victim of a financial scam, you’re not considered a consenting adult. The same is true for an emotional scam.

Default user

Maybe in LA you are so used to this kind of sick behaivor you cannot see how damaging it is. I feel that the writer is giving an excuse to those doing terrible things and I don’t know how they sleep at night.

Default user

Colin, it seems to me that if it happened repeatedly that’s is pretty indicative of a pattern of manipulation and intimidation on the part of this predatory abuser, not a failing on the part of his victims. Any organization, whether a family or a theater company can foster abuse, and as someone who experienced abuse as a child I take a real exception to you use your experise with abused children. I’m sorry you find it hard to believe that this doesn’t happen to big girls; I would suggest that that’s something you need to look at. Somehow inyour world being of legal age means you can’t be manipulated, but these are the hallmarks of abuse: separation, undermining, secrecy,intimidation. As someone who lays claim to being well versed in the field, Imwould think younwould know this. Couching your opinion in expertise either belies the depths of your knowledge in which case am not hopeful for those you counselled, or it kind of puts you in the same same league as this guy. Not in my name, please.

Default user

Oh, so now you’re going to be quiet about it? Counselor for abused girls? With this point of view? I think someone needs to start checking in with the girls you “helped” because I am highly suspicious of your motives for working with young abused girls.
I’ve got my eye on you boy.
Stay away from the vulnerable girls.

Default user

This is white male privilege douchebaggery at its ugliest. Misunderstanding basic psychology of the predator and how he grooms victims. Blaming the victims. Then shaming the victims.
Shame on YOU for perpetuating a culture that blames those who are harmed.
Sickening, puerile, privileged, cretinous behavior.

Default user

Unwanted, non-consensual physical contact is called battery. If an actor engages in violent, not agreed upon, aggressive behavior with another actor onstage or worse, uses a position of authority to menace or otherwise threaten a fellow actor, then they are not consenting adults. You don’t write particularly well and “analyzation” is not a word, the word is analysis. It would be easier to take you and your writing seriously if you sounded like you knew what you were talking about. You don’t. Don’t bother responding to me, I don’t need any moronic equivocation, thanks.

Default user

OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM Pro99: As concerned members of the PRO99 theatre community in Los Angeles, we would like to express our support for our fellow theatre artists in Chicago. We believe in the transformative power of theatre, and that can only be achieved in an atmosphere of respect, trust and safety. We applaud the courage and bravery of the actors who have come forward to shine a light on abuse, and of the Chicago community at large.

Additionally, we would like to state that we condemn the sentiments expressed in the recent article by the editor of Bitter Lemons, which placed blame on the victims. We stand in solidarity with Chicago. ‪#‎NotInOurHouse‬

U 52071 t 4170222

Hey Mandi (et al),
Love you, love, as I think you know, but I think you, and the majority of other people posting here on this topic are missing Colin’s lumberingly worded point. There is, whether one is able to acknowledge it or not, a danse macabre between two adult parties involved in a shared relationship. It’s a constant negotiation. To recognize the possibility only that participants in an abusive relationship are cantering down a two-way street is not equivalent to blaming the victim, justifying abhorrent behavior or resting on white, male privilege. It is, simply, an examination of other dynamics which are willingly being dismissed in our current culture of black and white declamations of right and wrong. No shades of grey are allowed (see: Trump/Bernie). And, while I thank you for including me within the company of gadflidian thinkers like Jason Rohrer (a genius mind in my opinion) and Colin Mitchell (a brave bell-ringer of sorts), I don’t agree with your statement that we are, by examining other dyanamics less easily discussed or addressed, in any way, shape or form adding to anyone’s wound. That’s just way too simplistic a deduction for as complex a mind as yours.

U 52071 t 4170222

Hi Margaret. As an active member of the Pro99 community I take objection to your statement above. I agree with your first paragraph regarding the incident in Chicago, but I find the second paragraph short-sighted and somewhat pandering. Yours very respectfully, Ezra.

Default user

dear colin, fuck you. as if we weren’t angry enough. tomorrow you should wake up and do better.

Default user

I have read this article too many times. I keep looking for something redemptive in it. Something of use. Something that has some inkling of an understanding of consent beyond “well she didn’t say no.” I urge you to read these comments. Let the passion wash over you, and I hope it causes you to reflect. Remember there is wisdom in listening. Have a conversation with someone you love about consent, and power and gender dynamics in rehearsal spaces, because you have more to learn. We all do — but you especially do, if you want to consider yourself a part of this community. I am sorry, but it is just required. THERE IS A REASON PEOPLE ARE ANGRY. SOMETIMES PITCHFORKS ARE THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE CLOSED EARS OPEN. Please listen.

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Your article proves to us that the understanding of abuse, both pyschological and physical, still has a painfully long way to go in this society. You are placing blame on these people who believed that Cox could help them become better artists and gain more experience in the theatre industry. Not only were Cox’ victims NOT all adults, but they were all new to an industry where there is a lot of thankless grunt work at the beginning of you’re career. You are completely disregarding the manipulation that can come when there is a power struggle. If one of those girls had been you’re daughter, I would hope that you would do more than simply say “Well, you said yes. It’s your problem.”

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When you openly call your blog a venue to piss people off…well, be careful what you wish for. You just revealed a little too much about your true self.you certainly got some traffic and people will remember you. You must be so proud.

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Delete your account.

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Thank you all for your comments. The comments have been restored.

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The great thing is that you have every right to express your opinion. What is even better is that your POV is out in the open for others to see and, therefore, make a decision if they want a person like you in their lives—whether emotionally or professionally. Please continue to speak your truth so that it is easy to find examples of people who seek less to understand than to be understood. And BTW, congratulations on being the catalyst to the Hollywood Fringe’s break from ties with Bitter Lemons.

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The great thing is that you have every right to express your opinion. What is even better is that your POV is out in the open for others to see and, therefore, make a decision if they want a person like you in their lives—whether emotionally or professionally. Please continue to speak your truth so that it is easy to find examples of people who seek less to understand than to be understood. And BTW, congratulations on being the catalyst to the Hollywood Fringe’s break from ties with Bitter Lemons.

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Pasted almost unchanged from a reply I made in a Facebook thread of Ezra’s a few days ago…

My take, after a weekend of consideration: (1) I suspect Colin is a contrarian at heart, that when he sees people lining up on one side of any issue, he automatically wants to go off the other way. So that if he found a bunch of people saying “Nuclear war is bad” his first response might be “Yeah, but think of the stories the twelve survivors could tell.” But care needs to be taken when such an impulse seizes, and after reading his piece a couple of times, I think it’s one he definitely needed to write then set aside for a while—journalism may live in the moment, but a poorly-considered essay can live for damn near forever. And even a little bit of distance really ought to have convinced him that this piece needed, to say the least, major revision, if not an outright deletion.

(2) The internet as echo chamber was on full display here, which of course is exactly the point Ezra and Jason, among others, have been making. There’s a real value to having contrarians around, even when they’re occasionally aggravating the hell out of you. If you immediately succumb to outrage and join the clamor for blood, then a voice gets lost that may have been the only one saying “You know, the emperor is stark nekkid over there.” The chilling effect is also real: as an occasional contributor, my articles were all written because Colin invited me to, and gave me free reign to go wherever I wanted to go. But with him gone, I haven’t heard from anyone else at the site and have no idea whether my voice is still welcome. Truthfully, the place doesn’t feel that friendly at the moment anyway.

(3) Some of the commenters on Colin’s piece deserve outrage of their own. The suggestion made by Joe Foust (who I knew a little back in Chicago, and respected, and who suffered a terrible loss a couple years ago), namely that Colin’s years counseling troubled adolescent girls must have stemmed from some prurient interest, was, I’m sad to say, just as offensive as anything Colin wrote.

(4) There does appear to be a bit of prior animus toward Colin at play. Howard Sherman’s piece is pretty up-front about that, and Paul Birchall’s column in Stage Raw manages to be mostly restrained about all of this, but barely.

(5) In my time in Chicago I never worked with Profiles or saw any of their shows (they always seemed like yet another Steppenwolf wannabe), but the whole thing is just horrifying and I hope none of my friends got caught up in it. But I did know Laura Fisher, one of the #notinourhouse founders, and I’m thrilled with what she’s done.

(6) and (last) is that #notinourhouse is in fact exactly the kind of personal responsibility Colin was calling for, using collective action to offset the weakness of an individual in such a terrible situation. In other words, the problem Colin was (poorly) trying to call out was already sorting itself out through the #notinourhouse folks.

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Bob: I would tend to agree with your (4), although that doesn’t absolve Colin from his stupidity or its consequences. However I do believe the animus, combined with Colin’s almost personal attitude towards BL, has made it difficult for people to believe Enci’s efforts to separate from Colin and keep the good aspects of BL going forward, whilst dumping the bad aspects. I see a lot of value in BL independent of Colin, and I’d like to see a way for BL to recover. But then again, I tend to fight for the bystanders who get caught in the overspray when someone does a stupid.


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