Australian performer Linden Furnell has been fired from his role in rock opera American Idiot over a comment he made to a female co-star which breached the theatre company’s zero tolerance to inappropriate behaviour.
The shake & stir theatre company released a statement on Tuesday confirming Furnell’s dismissal from his role as Johnny before the show’s opening in Melbourne this week.
“Mr Furnell’s dismissal was a consequence of breaching the company’s ‘Statement of Zero Tolerance to Inappropriate Behaviour’ previously communicated to him and all other company members by company management,” the company said.
The company released the statement hours after Furnell wrote a Facebook post explaining his alleged behaviour.
While he accepted his wrongdoing, Furnell wasn't happy at not being given a chance to explain himself.
"I wasn't asked to explain, give my account, dispute it or attempt resolution," he wrote.
"The producers had a knee jerk reaction, probably as a form of damage control/prevention and I found myself fired without so much as a conversation."
The performer acknowledged he made his colleague uncomfortable with a comment while the pair were on stage in the background of a scene.
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"Some off-mic character banter takes place between us in the background," he wrote.
"One night I wasn't careful and made a mistake. It was a particularly hot night in an old theatre without suitable aircon and we were both comically sweaty. Without thought, I made a crude allusion to menstruation amongst the banter.
"It was in poor taste and a lame attempt at humour. The kind of thing you say to make your friends go 'euugghhh gross'.
"I found out later that same night via a text conversation with her that it had made her very uncomfortable and thrown off her show.
"When I discovered the fact I apologised immediately and said that I would do what was necessary to avoid making that mistake again and reassured that I definitely did not intend to cause hurt or discomfort. I made a poor judgement call, assumed too much comfort in a work friendship.
"I genuinely regret the upset I caused that day."
Furnell says he apologised over text message but his colleague had also told management who fired him.
"I made a mistake, owned up to it, was immediately fired. That’s hopefully the end of it," he wrote.