BY Dan Verbin(A7) London theater that was widely condemned over a play that contained an anti-Semitic trope has lost two major corporate sponsors.
The Royal Court Theatre was faced with an outcry after a play it was producing – “Rare Earth Mettle” by Al Smith – included a billionaire character with the Jewish sounding name Hershel Fink.
After the controversy erupted in November, the character’s name was changed by the well known left wing theater to Henry Finn.
The scandal has caused two major sponsors to pull their backing. Law firms Kirkland & Ellis and Weil and Gotshal & Manges both condemned the incident. Each said they would stop sponsoring the playhouse, BBC News reported.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges, the only “gold sponsor” of the theater, told the BBC: “Weil strongly condemns any form of anti-Semitism or discrimination, whether conscious or unconscious, and we will be withdrawing our support for the Royal Court.”
Kirkland & Ellis also said they would be “unable to continue our sponsorship” in light of “recent events.”
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms any and all forms of racism and discrimination, including anti-Semitism,” a Kirkland & Ellis spokesperson said in a statement.
The UK anti-Semitism commissioner John Mann also urged the theater industry to implement anti-Semitism education, starting with the Royal Court Theater.
When the controversy began in early November, critics attacked the fact that it was claimed by the theater that the villainous character of Hershel Fink was not Jewish, with management “deeply sorry” about the incident, admitting it was “an example of unconscious bias” that needed reflection.
“The Royal Court claims they didn’t realize ‘Hershel Fink’ was a Jewish name. Hmmm. Somehow it just sounded so right for a world-conquering billionaire,” tweeted British comedian David Baddiel.