PlayPenn Fire Artistic Director Paul Meshejian

PlayPenn Fire Artistic Director Paul Meshejian

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!
At 1,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!

Shamus McCarty started this petition to PlayPenn Board of Directors and

Paul Meshejian needs to go.

For years PlayPenn profited on the promise to uplift marginalized voices and empower the artist. In reality, under Paul Meshejian, they have upheld dangerous and damaging racist and sexist behavior going so far as to protect a known predator despite several complaints because that person was a friend who donated money. It is time to out the leader who swept this and so much more under the rug. It is time to fire Paul Meshejian.

Earlier this summer PlayPenn announced their season of new plays including 1 Black playwright. This announcement was  quickly followed up with a multi-page spread featuring Black artists from previous seasons. When questioned publicly about this race-baiting during a local arts leadership meeting Paul refused to acknowledge Black identity or offer any sort of acknowledgment beyond not having personally approved the photos. From there the deluge of examples of racist behavior from Paul and his employees burst forth including one mixed-race artists designation as a "sexy pool boy" when disclosing his identity. After being inappropriately questioned, this artist was sexually harassed, fetishized and abused by his employer.

In addition to the recent conversations about Black exploitation from a predominantly white institution, it has come out that over the last 6 years, Paul Meshejian knowingly and consistently ignored sexual misconduct from a donor. This assailant was protected and harbored by Paul and the people he employed most closely. Multiple victims-largely from marginalized communities who worked in low paid and unpaid entry-level jobs and internships have spoken out.

PlayPenn has acknowledged the failure in a public statement posted to Facebook on July 10, 2020.

"We allowed the friendship, conviviality, history and generosity of a former member of our board to cloud our better judgement. This action breached the trust of, and made unsafe, members of PlayPenn’s family....Finally, I want to say a few words about a long-time PlayPenn donor. In light of the allegations made against this individual of inappropriate behavior from a handful of former PlayPenn interns and staff, we have made the decision to return the individual’s most recent leadership gift and to end ties going forward."

This lip service is not enough! After years of silence how can anyone expect a known harborer of a serial abuser to not repeat this behavior? Public trust is broken. Stand with survivors, uplift marginalized voices and tell the PlayPenn Board of Directors that Paul Mesheijian must be fired. 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!
At 1,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!