A casting call for a new kids TV show host posted on Craigslist that specified “any race except Caucasian” has been withdrawn.
The new show will be on the Canadian Broadcasting Network (CBC) and appeared on Craigslist and on the casting agency’s website.
After a strong outcry on Twitter, the job ad was taken down and reissued, with the “any race except Caucasian” language deleted.
The job description also requires an audition tape from a male 23-35 who is non-union (which is interesting considering the CBC is publicly funded), who can sing, gets along with kids, and “would enjoy hanging out with puppets all day.”
Under American law, what is called a bona fide occupational qualification would, for example, allow a movie or TV production company to solicit for a particular kind of talent without necessary violating anti-discrimination laws. BFOQs are allowed only in narrow or limited circumstances, however.
The casting agency has accepted full responsibility for the no Caucasians listing. According to Larissa Mair of Larissa Mair Casting and Associates Inc., “We apologize. We made a mistake and we’re apologizing profusely … We were asked to seek a cast of diversity. We mistakenly took that to mean that the production was not seeking Caucasian actors. This was a mistake that was made entirely by the casting company.”
A CBC official emphasized that the casting call in general reflected the taxpayer-supported network’s policy of reaching out to applicants from a wide range of backgrounds but that the wrong language was used in the ad. Said CBC exec Chuck Thompson, “At CBC, inclusion and diversity is a priority. This means reflecting Canada and its regions as well as the country’s multicultural and multiracial nature … Our focus in this latest initiative is simply to ensure that our search to find the best talent is broad and inclusive. Added Thompson: “Regrettably, in this particular case, it’s clear that our language was not used but it will be corrected.”
The CBC also indicated that it is looking into the matter.
Do you accept the premise that the wording of the ad was entirely the fault of the casting agency?