Theater

An Archive of Motif Publisher Statements Regarding Kevin Broccoli

Motif’s sexual harassment policy: https://motifri.com/policy-of-motif-on-matters-of-sexual-harassment/

Reporting about accusations against Broccoli: https://motifri.com/epic-freeze/

We also have a few articles reporting on the newly forming RI Theater Coalition which may be relevant.

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To recap:

An anonymous source tipped us off to Facebook profiles that were fake and liked Broccoli’s posts, but we were not able to prove anything concerning their origin, and they were taken down before we could finish looking into them. An anonymous complaint was made against Broccoli for sexual assault, which was investigated and found credible by three members of his theater’s board of directors, who resigned. We suspended Kevin from freelance writing for Motif immediately, reported on everything we knew about the situation (which was all public record — the board members declined to speak to us, and we weren’t involved in his theater or in the activities related to the incident) and haven’t had any interaction since.

Response to Jill Poisson:

  • Kevin was a volunteer co-MC for the theater awards, working with a huge team from many different theaters and with multiple collaborators. We never received a complaint or any hint of impropriety from any one involved in those events concerning Kevin or any of the other collaborators. If we had, we would have acted appropriately.
  • Kevin wrote for the magazine regularly as a freelance writer. So do roughly 120 other people. These are freelancers, Motif has no full time writers.

Post by Leonard X R Schwartz and response (one of several – not all of them are reprinted here):

Leonard Xavier Roberts Schwartz“Hey guys! Kevin Broccoli used to be our host for such events for many years….we made a mistake when someone came to us with fake accounts and our lackluster response was to keep publishing him….in fact, we might even suspect all his articles he wrote for us might even be fakes too. But in a effort to brush off any responsibility for any of this, here is some indoor karting instead of an honest discussion and conceding we bumbled and continually bumbled a response.”In an effort to help you all out a bit, I am posting a word from Kevin’s, your former host’s and head theater writer’s, victim.There is so much fraud and abuse claims about your former contributor and host out there now…and you all just want to Indoor Kart away from it with events like this.

Michael RyanLeonard Xavier Roberts Schwartz, we’ve been over and over the fake accounts, and I shared some thoughts below about this particular event. Suspicion of maybe making fake accounts wasn’t a reason for suspension. Credible assertions of assault were.My heart truly goes out to <anonymous>, and if it’s possible to help them or to help other theaters avoid anything remotely related, we’d love to support those efforts. I know everyone who helps make Motif happen would love to be part of the solution, and I hope there’s a way to make that happen and that you can find a way to be too.

Post by and response to Ben Jolivet on Facebook, during the summer of 2021:

Ben JolivetThis is a shockingly tone deaf Event to hold right now, given that the awards this is replacing were mockingly called “The Broccolis” by those on the outside because of how they seemed to rotate entirely around him. They were another example of the toxicity and exclusivity that permeated the theatre community in this area, in part because of the way group and individuals were and were not nominated. Not to mentioned that KB not only wrote for the paper and hosted the awards, but frequently won them.This is a time where dialogue and accountability are necessary, where healing for the victims of that toxicity is centered above the myth of community.Social change is difficult but necessary and does not come from pretending that everything is OK or that there aren’t people who have been truly hurt by the arts community in Rhode Island—especially since it has become clear there are many people willing to ignore or forget the bad behavior (in some cases assault) of main players in this state.

Motif MagazineBen Jolivet, and others on this thread, thank you for sharing your concerns. Please understand that I can’t respond individually to everyone, but will do my best to address your common concerns.I am sorry this comes across as tone deaf. Kevin was a volunteer co-MC for the theater awards for a few years, working with a huge team from many different theaters and with multiple collaborators. It was a leading role, but we certainly never thought of it as the “Broccolis,” and it really surprises me to hear that, given how hard we worked to be all-inclusive. For past awards, we have reached out to every theatrical endeavor we can find for those awards, and do our best to try to have no “on the outside.” We are truly sorry if any of our practices made people feel left out. Decisions like making universal, repeated outreach attempts, like not charging at the door, like involving as many people as we can – those have all been made in an effort to remove any possible barriers to participation.Where winning is concerned, we have made exhaustive efforts to keep that process as transparent as possible. It’s described in full detail here: https://motifri.com/motif-theater-awards-process/. It’s not us who chose him for awards – it’s the voters.And I really don’t believe community is a myth. Theater is a collaborative venture and can only take place through the meeting of many minds and talents and hearts. That, to me, is one of it’s most beautiful aspects.In celebrating that, I don’t mean to be dismissive of the toxicity you mention. To everyone who believes this feels tone deaf, I apologize.The event tonight was planned 6 months ago, when we realized there would not be enough theater to give awards to this year. We intended it to be a small placeholder, COVID-compliant, for those who really missed having a get together.There are constructive, productive ways to react to what happened with Kevin – better guidelines, better behavior community-wide, better channels for communication and for holding participants responsible. People are working on that, such as this group (https://motifri.com/meeting-of-minds-ri-theater…/), and we’ll continue to report on their efforts and encourage improvement across all theaters in dealing with assault and issues of equity and social justice. We are not pretending everything is OK.But that doesn’t mean we give up on theater.It doesn’t mean that anyone who works with a theater mustn’t have a drink (a particularly over-the-top assertion I saw from someone else on a social thread) or that actors can’t have fun with a group activity. In no way is that meant to ignore the very real issues surrounding sexual assault. Motif’s statement on sexual assault is here: https://motifri.com/policy-of-motif-on-matters-of-sexual…/This particular event isn’t meant to be about Kevin, it’s about theater. (And that barely – in this case, it’s mostly about arcade games, frankly). If that intent didn’t come across, or feels tone deaf, I truly apologize. We knew it wasn’t the time for a blow-out gala, but we thought a commitment-free, light, small option would be welcomed by some. We are not trying to hurt anyone or detract from the very real pain some in theater are feeling right now – quite the opposite.- Michael Ryan

Post by and response to Patricia McAlpine:

Patricia McAlpineEEK! I signed up for this event unaware that this is not whole-heartedly supported by the Theater community. I admit I am a little behind the eight ball with regard to the issue with Broccoli and just read the article about the allegations. I had wanted to attend to support the local theater community and a local tourism attraction. However, after reading these comments, I am choosing not to attend this event. I will say I was never a fan of Kevin Broccoli and as a reviewer/writer I was not a fan of his work either.

Michael RyanPatricia McAlpine I am sorry to hear that. Kevin was part of a large team. People are angry at us because we published his work, and had him as one of the MCs for past events.As soon as the allegations of sexual assault came out, we suspended him. I’m not sure what more we could have done, but if anyone has suggestions or is aware of pro-active steps we could take, we’d certainly be interested.And I am truly sorry to those people in theater who feel hurt or let down by us. In no way did we encourage, allow or turn a blind eye to anything involving assault. We are as angry as anyone at Kevin, and will continue to report on him when there are new developments. I do not believe that Kevin’s situation reflects the entire theater community.Motif has always done the best it can to support our local theaters.

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