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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Lambda Pickets Cirque du Soleil
2003-11-12

This article shared 2565 times since Wed Nov 12, 2003
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As Cirque du Soleil opened its 'Alegria' show in San Francisco last week Lambda Legal and community leaders announced protests against the company for discriminating against people with HIV.

'Discrimination: Another Side of Cirque du Soleil' launched with protesters 'welcoming' the show to San Francisco by greeting people in line to see the performance with leaflets and materials on the company's discrimination.

Lambda Legal also announced it is co-sponsoring a large community action in San Francisco Thursday, Nov. 20, to protest Cirque du Soleil for firing a top-notch gymnast because he has HIV.

In addition to the San Francisco show this month, Lambda Legal and local leaders will hold community events at Cirque du Soleil performances in a number of cities, including Atlanta (March 25 through April 11, 2004) and New York (May 6 through June 6, 2004).

Lambda Legal filed a federal discrimination complaint in July against Cirque du Soleil on behalf of Matthew Cusick, who was fired because he has HIV. Although Cirque's own doctors cleared him to safely perform for the Las Vegas-based show 'Mystere,' Cirque du Soleil management told Cusick that because he has HIV the company would not continue to employ him. In a letter this spring responding to Lambda Legal's formal request to reinstate Cusick in the performance, Cirque du Soleil's attorneys said the company was acting as a 'socially responsible employer' that has an obligation to avoid 'known safety hazards.'

'The campaign we're launching will expose the other side of Cirque du Soleil. Over the next few weeks in San Francisco—and over the next few months nationwide—we are reaching out directly to people who are attending Cirque's shows to tell them the rest of the story,' said Michael Adams, Director of Education & Public Affairs at Lambda Legal. 'Cirque du Soleil wants to market itself aggressively to the gay community and make a tremendous amount of money from the gay community, without being accountable for its discrimination. Today, we're standing shoulder to shoulder with local leaders and launching this campaign to put that to a stop. '

The Nov. 11 issue of The Advocate magazine, meanwhile, is stirring controversy. It features a cover story on gay couple—and Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas performing duo—Johan Silverhut King and Patrick King, without bothering to mention the company's self-admitted discrimination.

Photo The controversial Advocate cover.

See www.LambdaLegal.org .


This article shared 2565 times since Wed Nov 12, 2003
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