US: Play cancelled after lead actor sacked for challenging anti-gay heckler

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An actor has been sacked after physically removing an audience member mid-play due to constant homophobic slurs.

John Lace, who was starring in a production of the Tennessee Williams’ classic ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ at the Repertory East Playhouse in LA, booted out the abusive audience member as the man repeatedly yelled the word “fag” during emotional scenes.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is known for its gay inclusive narrative and for tackling the subject of homophobia.

The play has now been cancelled due to the controversy.

After Mr Lacy was fired, fellow lead actor Anton Troy resigned in solidarity.

Mr Troy slammed the producers on social media saying that they should have handled the situation before Mr Lace had to.

He wrote on Facebook: “I will not support homophobia or an establishment that doesn’t support its t­alent.

“Hate in any form is not something I choose to subscribe to. John is a seasoned professional and an honourable man. It should never escalate to a point where the talent has to handle an unruly drunk in the audience themselves regardless of the outcome.”

According to the Wrap, fellow cast-member Missy Kaye disagreed with Mr Lace’s decision to confront the audience member.

She wrote on her Facebook: “I, unlike most of you, am NOT proud to be an actor today.

“By you jumping off the stage and putting your hands on this guy put the whole theatre in jeopardy, cast and audience, and to me that is unforgivable.”

In a statement, the Repertory East Playhouse said: “The management of the REP regrets that this situation was not brought to their attention sooner and would like to assure future audiences that disruptive behaviour, including disparaging remarks from the audience, incidents of bullying or hate speech, and racial, discriminatory or homophobic utterances, will not be tolerated and offending parties will be asked to leave the theatre.”