The Ole Miss theater department's production of The Laramie Project, which depicts the reaction to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, was interrupted Tuesday night by a stupid, hateful audience, which included (and was instigated by) about 20 Ole Miss football players.
From The Daily Mississippian:
According to the play’s director and theater faculty member Rory Ledbetter, some audience members used derogatory slurs like “fag” and heckled both cast members and the characters they were portraying for their body types and sexual orientations. Ledbetter said the audience’s reactions included “borderline hate speech.”
In other words, gross. And deeply ironic, obviously, since The Laramie Project is about raising awareness for hate crimes and discrimination against gays.
The players, who were in attendance as part of a course requirement, weren't the only ones in the audience being dicks. But according the the play's director and members of the cast, they were basically ring-leading the thing, cheering others on to heckle the cast.
The players were ordered by the athletic department to apologize to the cast, but it seemed like they "didn't know what they were apologizing for," and the apology for the team as a whole came from one lone player. No players involved have been named thus far. The athletic department also emailed the theater department chair to apologize.
Ole Miss football popped up briefly earlier this summer when a highly rated recruit ran off a bunch of tweets about how racist the campus was after a recruiting visit. Now this. Get your shit together, Oxford.
Update: A report from the Clarion Ledger cites a freshmen who was sitting in the front row who says he never heard the word "fag", and that the actors themselves were giggling. That doesn't quite jibe with the Mississippian's story saying that an openly gay cast member felt "ridiculed", though. We'll let you know if the university makes an official statement.