Second City CEO Andrew Alexander is leaving the improv group after accusations of institutional racism were made by former performers, saying that he “failed to create an anti-racist environment wherein artists of color might thrive.”
Alexander is also the 50% co-owner of Second City. He announced he was stepping down in a letter posted on the Second City website, admitted he failed to create an “anti-racist environment.”
Actor Dewayne Perkins claimed Second City created obstacles for performers of color. As a counter to that, Alexander said in his letter that the next executive director of Second City will be a person of color.
In the letter of resignation, Alexander wrote that “it is not enough to not be a racist; you must be anti-racist. The Second City cannot begin to call itself anti-racist. That is one of the great failures of my life.”
Alexander produced the TV series “SCTV.” “Over the years, Second City has never shied away from talking about oppression. On stage, we have always been on the right side of the issue, and of that, I am very proud,” he wrote. “On stage, we dealt with the absurdity of the equal opportunity narrative that society uses to oppress BIPOC. We dealt with the double standard that rationalizes violence against people of color. We dealt with the cynicism of the liberal pact with capitalism. Offstage, it’s been a different story.”
While Second City tweeted support for Black Lives Matter on May 31, several former performers with the group challenged its commitment.
“You remember when the black actors wanted to put on a Black Lives Matter Benefit show and you said only if we gave half of the proceeds to the Chicago PD, because I will never forget. Remember when you would make black people audition for a job you simply just gave to white people?” comedian and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” writer Dewayne Perkins responded in a lengthy Twitter thread on Thursday.
“From the bottom of my heart. F— you forever @TheSecondCity lol,” Perkins added.
Space Force writer Aasia LaShay Bullock also spoke out about her assault. “The wildest part about my Second City experience is that they forced me to quit because they didn’t believe me,” she tweeted in a thread on Friday. “Then weeks later, for ‘unknown reasons’ they fire the white man who put hands on me, but allowed the narrative to be that they fired him because of me.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.