Tony Award nominee Chad Kimball recently filed a lawsuit claiming discrimination following his firing from Broadway’s “Come From Away” after he objected to the state mandate prohibiting singing in worship settings.
Increasingly leery of the dictates, mandates & edicts. I understand – err on side of safety, but safety is feeling arbitrary, obtuse & fraught with inchoate science. The “cure” doing more harm than good. IMHO. Trying to b patient. Trying to b kind. I’m sad for people. #courage
— Chad Kimball (@chadkimball1) October 9, 2020
The Christian Post reports that Kimball, who was nominated for a Tony for his role in the Broadway show “Memphis,” filed a lawsuit late last month in New York state court against Kiss The Cod Broadway and its management company, Alchemy Production Group. Kimball believe he was let go from the “Come From Away” production, of which he has been a part of for over 5 years, due to his religious beliefs.
The lawsuit, a copy of which was obtained by The Christian Post, alleges that Kiss the Cod Broadway and Alchemy Production Group “unlawfully terminated Kimball wholly or partly because Kimball’s religious beliefs made them uncomfortable.”
Kimball is seeking compensatory damages and lost wages.
Kimball took to social media on Oct. 25 to voice his thoughts on the lawsuit.
“The Broadway musical ‘Come From Away’ is a story about a small town welcoming people from around the world on 9/11, regardless of creed, race or religion. However, as the complaint I have filed alleges, some associated with the show have lost sight of that message and have not shown me the same kindness,” Kimball argued in an Instagram post.
“I hope those at the show who are not a party to this discrimination will understand that I cannot stand by and allow the violation of my protected civil rights go unchallenged: By God’s grace, Everyone of us has worth.”
The producers of “Come From Away” issued a statement calling Kimball’s lawsuit “unfounded.”
To be clear: nobody is going maskless. The overreach – in my opinion! – is not being able to sing even WITH a mask. No singing WITH a mask ON. Everyone will continue wearing masks. With respect and with hope and with care.
— Chad Kimball (@chadkimball1) November 16, 2020
Kimball told The New York Post that “Jesus never commanded us to not defend ourselves.”
“As Christians, we are commanded to seek out justice, truth and restoration,” he contends. “The law gives us opportunities to do all of those things.”
The lawsuit argues that Kimball was terminated following a tweet he posted last November voicing his distaste for a COVID-19 mandate enacted by Gov. Jay Inslee in his home state of Washington.
The mandate limited religious services and prohibited singing in worship settings in Washington.
“Respectfully, I will never allow a Governor, or anyone, to stop me from SINGING, let alone sing in worship to my God,” Kimball wrote in the November tweet. “Folks, absolute POWER corrupts ABSOLUTELY. This is not about safety. It’s about POWER. I will respectfully disobey these unlawful orders.”
The actor’s lawsuit, filed by attorney Lawrence Spasojevich of the firm Aidala, Bertuna & Kamins, claims that Kimball was terminated after questions were raised by staff and crew about Kimball’s “conservative Christian” beliefs.
In a phone call on Jan. 18, Producer Susan Frost allegedly expressed concern that the conservative Christian movement was somehow connected to the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol but expressed a desire for reconciliation. But on Jan. 22, Kimball was informed that he was terminated from the show.
Kimball told The New York Post that he felt the Washington state worship restrictions were taking “a part of myself from me.”
“It is not easy for me to not sing,” he said. “I am commanded to sing. I want to sing. It is my faith.”
Spasojevich told the newspaper that “that decisions made by the defendants were discriminatory” and “based on Chad’s religion.”
Kimball is married to Emily Swallow, an actress in “The Mandalorian.” After making a full recovery from COVID last year, he also told The NY Post, “It came in waves. … Two days after I felt better, it came roaring back. It felt different than anything I had before, especially when I lost my sense of smell.”
Come From Away — which follows a group of stranded American travelers in Newfoundland, Canada, on 9/11 — was recently made into an Apple TV+ movie.