Row erupts after ban on white critics reviewing hit play

Why producers of a play about black women and Kylie Jenner banned white critics from reviewing it – and newspaper’s scathing takedown of their ‘offensive’ stance prompts an angry retort

  • Major outlet refuses to review Seven Methods Of Killing Kylie Jenner
  • Producers of play about black women asked for non-white critics 
  • Arts editor’s column accompanied by controversial cartoon 

An ugly row has erupted in theatre circles after producers of a ‘woke’ new play tried to ban white critics from reviewing it.

The Australian producers of the internationally acclaimed Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner demanded that all reviewers be ‘people of colour’, but The Age newspaper’s arts editor refused to comply before lashing out in a fiery column.

Elizabeth Flux accused Amylia Harris and Leila Enright of ‘tokenism’ arguing that being forced to select a person of colour for the task was ‘offensive’ and ‘undermines’ the health of the critical landscape.

The play Written by British playwright Jasmine Lee-Jones, is about two young black women reacting to the claim that the Keeping up with the Kardashians reality star is the world’s ‘youngest self-made billionaire’.  

Ms Flux’s column was also accompanied by a controversial satirical cartoon depicting the stage show’s two lead actors, Iolanthe and Chika Ikogwe.

An ugly row has erupted in Australian theatre circles over a request not to send white critics to review a ‘woke’ new play about black women debating Kylie Jenner (pictured)

Theatre community group Stage a Change called the caricature of the two black actors ‘abhorrent’ and ‘absolutely disgusting’ in a Facebook post on Sunday. 

‘Frankly speaking, this article is dipped in, spackled with, and power washed down with so much fragility,’ it said. 

‘Fragility that has missed the point and self-aggrandized so epically.’

On social media another person described the image as a ‘racist caricature’ and called on Ms Flux to resign for allowing it.

‘She chose not to caricature the white producers. Instead, she caricatured the black actors who are just doing their job and had nothing to do with this. Resign.’

Ms Flux’s article explained to its readers why the publication carried no review of Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner.

The Age published a cartoon depicting the two lead actors from Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner, Iolanthe and Chika Ikogwe, which was described as ‘a racist caricature’

‘It’s not because we didn’t want to cover it – it’s because the producers refused to ‘accommodate’ any reviewers who weren’t people of colour (PoC).’

Ms Flux wrote that she agreed with a goal to increase diversity among critics, but that the show’s request was ‘a misguided move’.

‘[It] promotes tokenism, undermines the health of the critical landscape, and does a disservice to critics, creatives and audiences alike.’

But her column went further to explain its decision.

‘To actively seek someone out to review this production based on them being a PoC would have been offensive,’ Ms Flux wrote.

Elizabeth Flux (pictured), accused the play’s producers Amylia Harris and Leila Enright of ‘tokenism’ in a fiery column in The Age

She also added that it was ‘ridiculous and potentially dangerous’ that critics would have to disclose their race to do a job.

Ms Flux, who described herself as ‘a Hong-Kong-born Eurasian who was raised in Australia’, also pointed out neither of the two producers behind the decision was a person of colour.

She included a joint statement from Ms Harris and Ms Enright which said ‘Our intention is not to be exclusionary, but to use this opportunity to continue to encourage media organisations to increase representation in their teams for the benefit of artists, audiences and their readership.’

A theatre source told Daily Mail Australia there is nothing stopping any news outlet from reviewing any show if they pay for their own ticket.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted The Age and Elizabeth Flux for comment. 

Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner appeared at Melbourne’s Malthouse Theatre until January 29.  

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