An estimated 20 Ole Miss football players were among a group of students who reportedly disrupted an Ole Miss theater school play about a gay man with gay slurs, according to the Daily Mississippian web site, thedmonline.com.
The school's theater department put on a production of "The Laramie Project" at Ole Miss' Meek Auditorium Tuesday night. Play director Rory Ledbetter said some audience members used derogatory slurs and heckled cast members.
"I am the only gay person on the cast. I played a gay character in the show, and to be ridiculed like that was something that really made me realize that some people at Ole Miss and in Mississippi still can't accept me for who I am," said Ole Miss junior Garrison Gibbons.
Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze responded via Twitter on Thursday afternoon:
We certainly do not condone any actions that offend or hurt people in any way.We are working with all departments involved to find the factsâ Hugh Freeze (@CoachHughFreeze) October 3, 2013
According to the report, a number of Ole Miss football players were in attendance because they are enrolled in a freshman theater class that requires attendance. A student with a role in the play's production called an Ole Miss coach, who in turn called associate athletic director Drew Clinton, who came to the auditorium. Following the play's second act, cast members were told the football players in attendance wanted to apologize. One player reportedly spoke for all the players.
"The football players were asked by the athletics department to apologize to the cast. However, I'm not sure the players truly understood what they were apologizing for," said Theater Department Chair Rene Pulliam.
The athletics department issued no comment. The production continues through Sunday.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.