Ah, The Double Standard of Entertainment

A debate of ethic proportions has emerged amongst Broadway producers recently.

The question . . . would you hire this man?

The entertainment industry has always had a “we’ll hire you no matter what” attitude towards anyone with box office potential when it has come to drug use, DUIs, and even domestic violence.

Does this crime warrant more concern?  Less?

Will there be protests at the theater?  What if there are underage cast members in the show?

If we continue to hire individuals with bad track records, never mind criminal records, are we just teaching them that they are not accountable for their actions?

And are we teaching future artists that they don’t have to be accountable as well?  Or is the only thing we are accountable for the actual accounting.

Is it strange that companies across the world have drug tests for the simplest of tasks, yet there is no drug testing for Broadway employees, whether they are lifting fellow dancers above their heads or whether they are lifting heavy scenery above a dancer’s head?

And do we not have drug testing because we all know that a huge majority of actors, etc., would fail?

I don’t have an answer to whether or not I’d hire Mr. Barbour, but I do know this:

I’ve been trying to get this guy to do a musical for a long time.  God help me if it ever happens.

What would you do?

  • tamra says:

    And what pray tell would you have him do in a show? Although RD jr. would be comical and be sure to create some serious “buzz!”
    My thoughts on Barbour… As much as the world at large should welcome a person back into the community after the have “paid their debt to society” I think there are certain circumstances that should void that. This would be one of them.
    Is he a great actor? I have never seen him perform so I have no idea, but he must have some talent if he keeps getting jobs. However if you hold a job where you become a public image then there are guidelines that should be followed and if you molest a child then you career as an actor should be over. Many people eagerly await actors at the Stage Door because they want to meet with the actors for whatever reasons. Parents should not have to knowingly worry about the person they might encounter.
    I am sure no actor is perfect, and some might even have some mistakes in their past but ones of that magnitude are unforgivable. Then the question you raised of what if there are underage cast members. Will there be perimeters set up, and why should that actor have to be subjected to that, or should their parents have to feel that concern. Sure they could refuse the job because they do not want to work with someone they feel uncomfortable with, but then they could be passing up a career opportunity of a lifetime because some guy didn’t know how to behave properly? I know I certainly would not go see a production if someone in it (at least if I knew in advance) had been convicted of a crime like that… even if one of my favorite actors was in the show with them. I am sure there are some holes in “two cents” above and am always willing to listen to another’s thoughts…

  • dave beef says:

    I am not sure if James Barbour has the box office draw that can warrant keeping him in the show after this. I mean, I saw Assassins, and I didn’t even remember that he was in it. (He is no Neil Patrick Harris)
    When Rafael Palmero went in front of Congress and said he never did steroids, then later was caught having lied, he was poison in baseball.
    When James Barbour pleads Not Guilty, then later admits to his wrong doing, and… nothing?
    That makes no sense.
    Not only did he commit this vile crime, he lied about it too. Im sure, making the Producers of the show stand behind their star 100 percent. Then he admits it! Making everyone look like a fool for believing him.
    G.W.Baily from the Police Academy movies explained to me when I was on tour that one of the biggest reasons we go out and do a show for the Millionth time is there is some kid out there where this is their first show, their first exposure to theatre. You may be inspiring them into this theater life that we have all come to love.
    We should be inspiring them NOT touching them.

  • Count for something says:

    In the Barbour case, and I have been following it very closely, there are various loopholes that stick out.
    Fist, and foremost, this guy should not be considered a “predator”. In his past, Barbour has shown not only integrity and commitment for his work, but also for his fellow cast members. I am not saying there might not be some out there that dislike him, for whatever, as nobody is a “gold coin” that everyone likes, but his talent has also matched his devotion to his craft, and beyond.
    The fact that this young woman has brought him down as having “molested” her, is(I am sorry to say for all those who are only thinking of the fact that she was 15 at the time), quite debatable. For one, it makes no sense to me how even Barbour can say he “lured” her into his dressing room, when in fact she went willingly and without hesitating, inspite of the fact that she had a boyfriend(so, not quite as “innocent” in sexual matters as we have been led to believe)who was also there with her that night, as also were her parents. who should have exhibited a bit more interest in their daughter’s behaviour(to me, it was quite odd to let her go backstage, alone, between curtain calls(?)). This girl had very high ambitions(exhibited by her own seeking and conduct)of a life as a performer, and apparently she was willing to do “anything” to get where she wanted. Barbour presented someone for her who could get her closer to that reality, as a successful Broadway actor, besides the icing on the cake that he was appealing, and a nice guy, too. (perhaps she contemplated a realtionship?). Barbour has a rare talent, that is enhanced and supported further by his own character traits, which have been shown to be this commitment and steadfastness. He was just coming into this recognition when this accusations took place. He has also shown to be quite honest in his views, inspite of now coming accross a a “liar” for some. Let’s just say this: If we had been subjected to these allegations, 5 years after something that in our minds and souls we felt we had atoned for, and was not done in a willingly hurtful manner, would we not try to defend ourselves? First, he did not take further advantage of the situation, as a man(not engaging in actual intercourse with the girl), although he could very well have, and for a long time. Perhaps, as sad as his “victim”‘s motives seem to be, she would not have accussed him of anything, if say, she had used him to step up in her career, and had felt fulfilled in the quest of what she had embarked upon.
    Then, he was accountable enough to admit to her, over the taped phone conversation, that it had been “unethical” for him to have acted this way, and most assuredly said his “I’m sorrys” to the girl. Unless someone had already a “proposed agenda” to get this man to court and nearly end his career(as we are discussing here, obviously), as well as punish him for not having continued the supposed “relationship”, and get her own way with him, I really do not see where this girl is coming from, just before the end of the stature of limitations. The fact that she was 15 at the time, well, that seems to be the only thing that is truly making her case here. As far as everything else considered, the sexual actions involved almost seem “high schoolish”, the encounters were limited to 2 instances(the first, so brief, that it should be put in the book of records), and if she thought he “molested” her, then why was she still in touch with him by phone, years after the “fact”? And why did she not even discuss this matter sooner with someone close to her?
    The girl involved is having a grand career at the moment(astoundingly, she has been in 3 episodes of “The Sopranos”, secured several theater play supporting characters, and just this last month a Ford Edge crowned her with a commercial, and all in the relatively short period of a year and a half). All, curiously to say, right after she accused Mr. Barbour of these offenses. Whatever issues she had with Barbour’s actions, do not seem to have affected her ability to shrive, at all.
    So, in all, this case is not exactly a “cookie cutter” model of a “child molester”. The fact that Barbour admitted to the courts his “guilt”, only goes to denote honesty to the point of “self bashing”, as many of the allegation details he confessed to, went beyond what was necessary to make the point. This alone shows that he is trying to come clean, and atone for his mistakes.
    His past and current conduct show him to be quite accountable, and, yes, employable. Let’s not close the doors on a fine talent who can produce and enhance so many future artistic endeavours, and most importantly, let’s not shun a decent man for mistakes that he should not be considered entirely responsible for.

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