Darrell W. Cox, the actor at the center of the abuse allegations at the Profiles Theatre in Chicago, has responded via a public post on his Facebook page. On June 8, the Chicago Reader published an in-depth story about harassment at the theatre, shedding light on disturbing incidents that involved Cox, actor and artistic director. According to the Reader, more than 30 former Profiles cast and crew members attest to Cox being physically and psychologically abusive.
In his post, Cox denies the allegations, saying he has never and will never condone workplace abuse in his theatre. Read the statement below:
The Reader story drew on interviews with cast and crew from earlier shows at Profiles, who spoke out about varying degrees of harassment, including being psychologically and physically abused by Cox. One actress spoke of having her throat squeezed so hard during a fight scene she almost passed out; another said Cox touched her inappropriately during a grope simulation.
Many people and organizations within the Chicago theatre community have shown their solidarity and support in response to the story. Anna D. Shapiro, artistic director of Steppenwolf Theatre Company, published a Facebook post last week stating the company stood “with the victims of this hideous abuse and with their brave defenders.” See the post below.
The Jeff Awards also took to Facebook to announce it would address the Change.org petition to revoke Cox's Jeff Award for Killer Joe.
The Reader article re-affirms the necessity for the newly composed code of conduct drafted by Chicago actors Lori Myers and Laura T. Fisher in association with the Not in Our House collective, which Cox references in his own statement. The initiative was launched in April in response to artists and people within the industry dealing with sexual harassment, discrimination and violence, among other issues. The code addresses some existing problems and provides an outline for how to deal with them. Not in Our House published an open letter on its website and Facebook immediately following the Reader story, reiterating its goals to make non-Equity theatres safer. You can view it here.