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Female theatre director has amazing response to job rejection based on her gender

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A woman applied to be a director for a play at the Windsor Fringe Festival and was rejected because (and this is a direct quote) a man “would be better”.

Olorunfemi Fagunwa sent in her CV for a role of a director as part of the Kenneth Branagh New Writing Awards. She then received the below reply from a Windsor Fringe Committee Member:

Email received after woman applies for a director role and is told a man would be better for the job
(Olorunfemi Fagunwa/Facebook/Screenshot)

The Windsor Fringe Kenneth Branagh Awards supports amateur writers and plays from three winners are staged with selected directors – this was one of the roles Olorunfemi (Femi) applied for.

Understandably outraged at the only reason given for her rejection, she took to facebook and posted a brilliant reply.

She wrote: “I’m not one for political correctness so I was genuinely appreciative that you were so open about the feeling of the committee and the writer. I’d like to be just as open. Being that the year is 2016, and that women have acquired the right to vote and now are heads of state, you’ll understand why I’d beg to differ on the point that a ‘male director would be better for this play’.

Director's response after being rejected from a job because she was a woman
(Olorunfemi Fagunwa/Facebook/Screenshot)

Olorunfemi explains that she was sent the play to read because they were considering her for the director role. She says: “At no point was it a genuine occupational requirement that a man be the director of that play”; adding: “Sexism as decision making tool is completely unintelligent and those who help to perpetuate it further, especially in so obvious a manner, are beyond foolish!”

Director's response after being rejected from a job because she was a woman
(Olorunfemi Fagunwa/Facebook/Screenshot)

She goes on to address the gender imbalance onstage and backstage and the need for more women to be present in director roles, before saying: “I do not blame you alone, this was a collective decision so I blame the collective.

“I expect more from the Kenneth Branagh New Writing Award committee and thought they would at the very least encourage diverse voices in helping to tell stories and not just with regards to writers, but also with directors (we are storytellers too). Isn’t that part of the reason we have new writing awards?”

She finished: “In conclusion thank you, the committee and writer, for removing pretty much any possibility that I will do any directing at the Windsor Fringe festival and for making the detrimental self-injurious decision to not select me as director based on my gender. Without a doubt your willingness to make decision based on my organs and hormones serves as a reflection of your incompetence.”

Empty theatre seats.
(Milan Maksic/Thinkstock)

The Windsor Fringe apologised for the “unacceptable and hurtful contents of the e-mail” and added: “We deeply regret the offence caused.”

In a joint statement, chairman Mike Denny and head of drama awards Ann Trewartha said: “The contents of the email were a result of extremely poor communication and lack of judgment and not a reflection on the selection process.

“All applicants are judged on merit only and it is a priority of Windsor Fringe to promote and deliver equality and diversity as we support new and emerging artists. 

“We apologise again for the error in judgment of the email content and affirm that all applicants are judged on merit and this year was a particularly difficult choice as we had many extremely talented directors apply.”




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