Gay guys rejected from panto after performers asked a ‘married couple’ to come up
A married gay couple who were asked to leave the stage during a pantomime performance because they were not straight have expressed their “complete embarrassment” at the incident.
Nigel Sears-Adams, who attended a performance of Dick Whittington at The London Palladium on 14 December with his husband Peter Sears-Adams, was left “feeling humiliated” after an encounter with Paul Zerdin, who played Idle Jack in the production.
“When Paul Zerdin asked me to go up onto the stage, it was not something that I wanted to do,” said Nigel to PinkNews.
Zerdin identified Nigel’s friend who sat next to him as his wife, rather than his husband Peter Sears-Adams who was sat on the other side of him.
“He asked me to come up with the women to my right who was in fact my friend and not my spouse,” said Nigel.
“I did tell Mr Zerdin this, but he kept onto me and I did tell him that, yes we are a married couple as he had asked for, but Peter was my spouse and was sitting to my left. Zerdin was so insistent that although neither of us had any wish to go up onto the stage, with the spotlights on us, I said to Peter that we have no option but to go up,” he added.
However, before Peter and Nigel made it to the stage, they were told to sit down.
Contestant/ventriloquist Paul Zerdin attends the “America’s Got Talent” season 10 taping at Radio City Music Hall (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)”It was then that Zerdin then said “oh no” and made us sit down,” he said.
“When he asked for a “hetrosexual couple” I was appalled by this discrimination and the only positive thing was the large cheer and round of applause that we received from the 2000 + people in the theatre…which ended up adding to our complete embarrassment,” he added.
The couple were then left to sit uncomfortably in the theatre for the duration of the performance.
“We did stay for the duration as we were with friends, but I really have to say that our whole view towards the production changed and what was so good last year became a very tarnished expeience,” he said.
“We had several friends in the audience all of whom were disgusted by what they had witnessed and concerned for our wellbeing,” he added.
Since the performance, Nigel has written a complaint to the manager of the Palladium.
Nigel and Peter did receive an apology from the production company, but feel it does not compensate for the humiliation they endured.
“In this case just a big “sorry” is not enough,” said Nigel.
“I received a call from the head of marketing for Kudos, who are responsible for the production. In the call he said that they were aware of the incident and pleased that I had made contact and offered a sincere apology – and that was it,” he added.
“He went on to say that the act involved the putting on of a mask and one of them had lipstick on it and this would have been worse, but I disagree. Nothing could be worse than the humiliation that we felt,” he said.
“We have reached out because this was so humiliating and descriminative and as a married couple, we were made to feel “different” from a hetrosexual married couple and really not an experience we would wish anyone else to have to go through,”
“We just hope that when looking at putting on the pantomime for Christmas 2018, the production team will ensure that they are not gender specific and they ensure that nobody will have to sink down as low into their seats as we did out of embarrassment.”
In a response to Metro.co.uk, London Palladium said that “absolutely no offence to anyone was intended.”
“Paul Zerdin’s critically acclaimed mask comedy sketch is scripted for a male and female participant, and the props for the scene are designed accordingly,” said a spokesperson.
“The routine doesn’t require the participants to actually be related or to be an actual couple, so anyone can take part. At this single performance Paul realised he hadn’t achieved the audience mix he needed for the masks, and under pressure to quickly resolve this in front of a live audience didn’t express this as he would have liked to. Absolutely no offence to anyone was intended,” they added.