The Chicago Reader this afternoon reports that â€œa social media firestorm of allegations of sexual harassment and emotional abuse ignited Tuesday afternoon and incinerated Dead Writers Collective, a six-year-old theater company, which announced this morning that it was closing for good.â€
The source of the trouble was a contract disagreement between Jim Schneider, the companyâ€™s cofounder and artistic director, and Megan DeLay, a â€œcollective memberâ€ whoâ€™d been slated to perform in a company fund-raiser but dropped out a week and a half before rehearsals were scheduled to begin, citing another, better-paying opportunity. Schneider responded with an angry e-mail stripping DeLay of her â€œcollective memberâ€ status, the story states. When DeLay posted about the incident on Facebook on Monday, Schneider commented, â€œYou really donâ€™t want to go here Megan. I can easily smear you with many of the theatre producers and directors in this town,â€ adding, â€œAnd to the rest of you if you break your contracts with theatre companies one and a half weeks before rehearsals and leave your company in the lurch donâ€™t be surprised if it comes back to bite you. Without theatre companies you would not have a job.â€
Read the rest of the story here.
Schneider faced a social media firestorm in the wake of his comments, which pretty much destroyed the ratings ofÂ the Dead Writersâ€™ Facebook page. The troupeâ€™s website was no longer available.
According to PerformInk.com, who reached out to Schneider for comment, â€œSchneider responded Wednesday morning, saying â€œIn lieu of this firestorm, as the Founder of the company and AD, I have tended [sic] my resignation and we are closing down the company. I have apologized for my statement to Megan publically [sic] on Facebook. This matter should have been worked out between she and I and not in the court of public opinion. She chose to make it all public before I had any chance to respond to her.â€