Repertory East Playhouse in Santa Clara, CA was in the midst of their production of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof when one attendee began heckling the cast with homophobic slurs, evidently utterly ignorant of the fact that the main character Brick's latent homosexuality and relationship with his football buddy Skipper is one of the major driving plot elements. Actor John Lacy, who was playing the role of Big Daddy, couldn't take the heckler's slurs and got off the stage and physically removed him from the theater. He was immediately fired from the show.
Co-worker Anton Troy resigned in solidarity, saying on his Facebook account:
I will not support homophobia or an establishment that doesn't support its talent. Hate in any form is not something I choose to subscribe to. John is a seasoned professional and an honorable man. It should never escalate to a point where the talent has to handle an unruly drunk in the audience themselves regardless of the outcome. Producers dropped the ball, the fish stinks from the head on down.
Cast members Missy Kaye and Emily Low had a decidedly different opinion. Said Kaye,
By you jumping off the stage and putting your hands on this guy put the whole theatre in jeopardy, cast and audience, and to me that is unforgivable. What if this guy had a weapon? Did that cross your mind?
And Low, who didn't think Lacy should have been fired and soundly condemned the bigoted patron, said,
Sometimes you're gonna have those people in the crowd who don't understand that his is a high piece of art, or people who come into the show and don't even realize that it's a story about a person who's struggling with being gay. I disagreed with things being dealt with violently, that's all that it is.
One has to wonder what the fallout and opinions would have been had the patron been hurling racial slurs or anti-Semitic epithets.