OLD TOWN — A former Second City e.t.c. trouper has filed a federal suit against the comedy company charging that he was racially harassed by a castmate last year during the run of "A Red Line Runs Through It."
Scott Morehead charged in a federal suit filed this week he was called "cracker" and "white Jesus" by an African-American castmate in the production and that he was also subjected to threats and physical abuse.
The suit charged "retaliatory termination" after he complained to the producer and was suspended from the production. It stated that Morehead has not been offered any other work at the company, which he has been associated with since taking classes at Second City in 2006.
Without commenting on the lawsuit, Second City issued a statement Wednesday saying 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."
According to the complaint filed in federal court, the suit came after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a "right to sue" notice a week ago.
Morehead charged he "faced a series of racial slurs from an African-American cast member" and accused the castmate of saying she "wishes that all white people were dead."
After displaying an "I hate honkies" sign onstage as part of the production, she said backstage, "What the audience doesn't know is that I meant I hate white people," the suit alleges.
It also charges she threatened to "slap the crap" out of him and said fellow castmates should "shoot" Morehead."
The suit also alleges the woman threw her shoulder into him during a performance a year ago, and when he complained about it to the stage manager, he was suspended.
Last year, Second City began posting signs warning it has a "zero-tolerance" policy toward "hate speech of any kind" coming from the audience.
An Asian-American actor who was part of the same cast as Morehead left Second City last year and said he regularly heard racial slurs from the audience.