City Council hears new details of Roxy Theater EEOC case
Thursday night’s city council meeting provided more details on the harassment case against Roxy Theater Director Ryan Bowie.
Reports of a hostile work environment came out last August from actors at the Roxy prompting an investigation from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC investigates and enforces federal discrimination laws.
The EEOC recently closed its case with no further issues, stating there was a lack of findings during their investigation.
Clarksville attorney Tracy Knight represented the Roxy Theater in the EEOC case. Knight explained at the council meeting that even though there weren’t any findings in the case, she recommended some steps for the Roxy to prevent a case from happening again.
“Annual trainings, policy revisions, an HR Director and an Intimacy Director for those scenes would help prevent this,” Knight said.
Knight also suggested that the Roxy keep personnel files and ensure all actors, regardless of how long the play runs, receive the same training and know how to file complaints.
The harassment case prompted the city council to look into the Roxy funding, which receives financial support from the city of Clarksville. An ordinance was first filed in December by councilperson Vondell Richmond. After his term ended, Councilwoman Trisha Butler sponsored it.
Although the EEOC said there was a lack of findings, the ordinance calls for a cut in Roxy’s budget to $77,118.75.
Butler said that she was sponsoring the ordinance for three reasons: “out of respect for her former colleague; two, to follow through with complaints from her constituents; and because the entire incident is why the government shouldn’t be in the business — especially show business.”
Throughout Thursday’s non-voting meeting, Butler was firm on her decision to cut funding for the Roxy Theater.
“We and our supported charities need to operate above reproach,” Butler said.
During the meeting Councilwoman Wanda Allen said she will not be voting on the ordinance.
“I bought this to the council because we were receiving so many emails about what was happening,” Allen said. “I said we do anything about this ordinance, we should wait on the EEOC, and since then we have received a handbook that is going to be given out to anyone who comes and works at the Roxy. The Roxy has done a great job on this.”
Councilman Wallace Redd said that by doing this, it leads to a slippery slope.
“This has been investigated by the Board, and the Board takes corrective actions to fix things,” Redd said. “What will be the next thing? We don’t like a board member or don’t think they should be there? We’ll start taking money from another entity.”
The ordinance for Roxy Theater’s funding will be voted on at the next city council meeting next month.