(Chris Jones’s article appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 6/5; photo NY Daily News.)
Following a social-media tumult sparked by a series of racially accusatory tweets from a former performer and employee, Second City’s co-owner, Andrew Alexander, told staffers on Friday that he was apologizing for his “many failures as a steward of an important cultural institution” and stepping away from one of Chicago’s most famous and internationally influential theaters.
The exit of Alexander, 76, the accomplished producer of “SCTV,” a longtime kingmaker and an iconic figure in sketch comedy, came after accusations of institutionalized racism were leveled on Twitter by Dewayne Perkins. In particular, Perkins criticized what he said was Second City’s prior reluctance to fundraise for the Black Lives Matter movement without also financially supporting police-related causes. Commenters amplified Perkins’ remarks and extended them to other improv theaters in Chicago.
Attempts were made Friday to reach Perkins for further comment.
“The Second City cannot begin to call itself anti-racist,” said Alexander, in a long and profoundly self-deprecating statement. “That is one of the great failures of my life.”