White Sign-Language Interpreter Who Alleged Racial Discrimination In His Removal From Interpreting for The Lion King, Settles Out of Court

Sign-language interpreter Keith Wann alleged earlier this month that he was removed from his duties signing for the Broadway hit musical The Lion King because he is white.  Wann filed a federal lawsuit on November 8th.

This week, Wann announced that the matter with the Theatre Development Fund had been resolved out of court.

The New York Post reports:

The white sign-language interpreter booted from Broadway’s “Lion King” for his skin color quietly settled his federal discrimination case against the theatre company that fired him, The Post has learned.

Keith Wann and the Theatre Development Fund — a nonprofit that provides ASL interpreters at Broadway shows — resolved the dispute outside of court just two weeks after Wann filed his lawsuit and The Post published a front-page report.

“The matter between myself and TDF has been resolved and both parties are satisfied with the discussions that ensued,” Wann wrote in a social media post announcing the settlement. “I look forward to the review of the process that will come from this to hopefully benefit the interpreting profession.”

Wann filed the lawsuit on Nov. 8 after he and another interpreter, Christina Mosleh, were told to back out of the production in April so they could be replaced by black sign-language experts, according to the suit and emails obtained by The Post.

“Keith Wann, though an amazing ASL performer, is not a black person and therefore should not be representing Lion King,” Shelly Guy, the director of ASL for “The Lion King,” told Lisa Carling, the director of the Theatre Development Fund’s accessibility programs, in an email.

While Wann garnered support for his decision to go public with the motivations for his removal, not everyone was pleased to see the racism exposed.

Deaf performer Raven Sutton blasted his decision to sue and said what he faced was not discrimination.

In a viral video posted to various social media channels, Sutton asserted, “This is not discrimination. Reverse racism is not a thing. Stop taking all the jobs when we have black interpreters that are the better fit. Wipe your own white tears because we are not going to do it for you.”


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