A lead cast member of the Australian production of the American Idiot musical has been let go due to “inappropriate behaviour“.
In a Facebook post, Linden Furnell said that he had been let go without being asked to “asked to explain, give [his] account, dispute it or attempt resolution“. He said that he believed he was fired due to a “crude allusion to menstruation” he made to costar Phoebe Panaretos:
It happened in the moments following this scene. Johnny and Whatsername are dimly lit while another scene takes place in the foreground. Some off-mic character banter takes place between us in the background.
One night I wasn’t careful and made a mistake. It was a particularly hot night in an old theatre without suitable aircon and we were both comically sweaty. Without thought, I made a crude allusion to menstruation amongst the banter. It was in poor taste and a lame attempt at humour. The kind of thing you say to make your friends go “euugghhh gross”.
I found out later that same night via a text conversation with her that it had made her very uncomfortable and thrown off her show. Naturally, when I discovered the fact I apologised immediately and said that I would do what was necessary to avoid making that mistake again and reassured that I definitely did not intend to cause hurt or discomfort. I made a poor judgement call, assumed too much comfort in a work friendship. I apologised again for the upset caused.
In a statement issued to The Music, the production confirmed that he had been let go, citing breaches of their “zero tolerance” policy on inappropriate behaviour:
Mr Furnell’s dismissal was a consequence of breaching the company’s ‘Statement of Zero Tolerance to Inappropriate Behaviour’ previously communicated to him and all other company members by company management. The decision to dismiss Mr Furnell was not taken lightly. Accordingly, and in the interests of a healthy and safe workplace, the company decided to act.
At the time of his dismissal, Mr Furnell advised in writing his acceptance of the termination. For shake & stir theatre co, the well-being and safety of all our company members and all our employees is our top priority.
You can read Furnell’s full statement below: