LGBT

Football Players Yell Gay Slurs During Performance Of "The Laramie Project" At Ole Miss

“To be ridiculed like that was something that really made me realize that some people at Ole Miss and in Mississippi still can’t accept me for who I am.”

1. At a performance of The Laramie Project at The University of Mississippi, actors on stage were heckled by members of the audience.

Frederick Breedon / Getty Images

According to the students who were in the play, derogatory slurs were shouted at the actors during the play, making it difficult for them to complete their performances.

2. The Laramie Project by Moisés Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater examines the aftermath of the murder of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man, and its impact on the community of Laramie, Wyoming.

3. Among those audience members that were heckling the actors were 20 members of the Ole Miss football team.

The director, Rory Ledbetter, said, “The football players were certainly not the only audience members that were being offensive last night. But they were definitely the ones who seemed to initiate others in the audience to say things, too.”

4. The heckling involved slurs about actors’ sexualities. One of the actors, Garrison Gibbons, said:


I am the only gay person on the cast. I played a gay character in the show, and to be ridiculed like that was something that really made me realize that some people at Ole Miss and in Mississippi still can’t accept me for who I am.

5. The football players were attending the play as a requirement for a theater course.

Frederick Breedon / Getty Images

6. One of the football players apologized backstage on behalf of the entire team after the athletics department asked them to.


Ledbetter also received an emailed apology from a member of the athletic department.

7. The coach of the football tweeted his response.

We certainly do not condone any actions that offend or hurt people in any way.We are working with all departments involved to find the facts

— CoachHughFreeze (@Hugh Freeze)

8. One of the cast members responded.

@CoachHughFreeze I'm in the play an I have no hostility toward these players. We want them to respect the situation rather than laugh at it.

— tay_dunn (@Taylor Dunn™)

@CoachHughFreeze we support the football team and love them. We would just like the same support.

— tay_dunn (@Taylor Dunn™)

10. This Sunday, October 6, will mark the 15 year anniversary of the night Matthew Shepard, himself a college student, was attacked and eventually left for dead in Laramie, Wyoming.

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