Ole Miss Students Reportedly Yell Slurs During Play About Murder of Gay Student

(Memphis) A Mid-South University, known for a history of tension, is in the spotlight again.

Some members of the Ole Miss football team are being investigated for heckling performers during a play depicting the story of a gay man, but some say the football players are not the problem.

The student actors want to make it clear that it wasn’t just the football team acting hateful – it really was almost the entire audience.

“It’s not that football players are homophobic or that they don’t show respect, it’s that the majority of our audience was making us physically and psychologically uncomfortable,” said Rachel Staton, one of the performers.

Young actors got-up on stage to depict the life of a student tortured to death for being gay only to feel attacked themselves.

“There is a moment in the show where I literally say ‘I’m 52 years old and I’m gay’ and there is silence and I felt this overwhelming amount of judgment and then laughter,” said performer Garrison Gibbons, who also identifies as gay.

Garrison and others on campus say it’s not easy being gay at Ole Miss, but in the theater Tuesday night, it became obvious that it may take a little longer for the less brave to come out.

“A lot of gay members of our theater department that were in the show have expressed that they are now extremely fearful to even walk around campus and show that they are gay at all,” said Student Cayley Smith.

In the past, there have been racial tensions Ole Miss, including a race riot after voters reelected president Obama.

Now, this.

“I think it’s sad that people can’t be comfortable with their sexuality around campus,” said Ann Conner Dickerson, a journalism student.

“We want to find out what happened to make sure we keep the university an inclusive environment where everybody feels comfortable,” said Danny Blanton, spokesperson for the University of Mississippi.

On October 12, it’ll be 15 years since Matthew Shepard was beaten to death. It’s what the play The Laramie Project is about.

“15 years later and what’s changed?” asked Performer Nathan Daniel Ford

The university of Mississippi’s Athletics’ department released a statement Thursday afternoon apologizing for the behavior of the football players and saying all those responsible will be held accountable.

8 comments

  • Maryrch1

    It matters not where this happened or who they were it wrong. There is no mentioon of the demographics of the audience; so why is this group singled out?

  • Kelly Stanford Sides

    I agree Maryrch1. And someone on twitter said they had acted in this play somewhere else and received the same reaction. It has nothing to do with the demographics nor the audience. And the actual incident happened in Wyoming.

  • LetMeOut

    It’s not much of a society we’ve made for ourselves. There’s nothing people love so much as their hatred.

  • mztee

    It doesn’t surprise me at all. Ole Miss is a racist school in many ways but black people and minorities still wanna be there. Once they’re found hanging in a tree it will be too late! YOU’RE NOT WANTED AT OLE MISS! Think back to what they did when Obama was re-elected……how much more do you need to see!??

  • Proud Black Rebel

    mztee….how many times have you visited the Ole Miss campus? You should be careful of forming generalizations without having a personal frame of reference to the situation. I actually was there. I graduated. I did not experience a single racist encounter during my entire stay there (and I stayed there 5–not 4 years). Intolerant people are everywhere be it Ole Miss or UCLA. I don’t share in your sentiment that black people are not wanted at Ole Miss, and unless they have personally told you that they don’t want you there….you shouldn’t make such comments!

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