Ole Miss Football Players Shout Derogatory Slurs During Gay Awareness Play

ole miss

University of Mississippi officials are investigating a report from The Daily Mississippian in which a number of Mississippi football players were among an audience that used “borderline hate speech” in verbally harassing student actors with derogatory and gay slurs during a university theater production of The Laramie Project.

The play is based true story murder of Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student who was killed in 1998 due to his sexual orientation.

Garrison Gibbons, a 20-year old acting major at Ole Miss who was in the play, said Thursday the atmosphere at Tuesday’s performance was “radically different” and that actors had heard gay slurs from the audience and laughter at moments in the play, including a funeral scene.

“They were laughing at lines that spoke in negative ways about gay people,” Gibbons said.

Gibbons added that he felt “an incredible amount of judgment and laughter” while delivering a pivotal monologue in the play in which his character comes out as gay.  He said the cast was later told after the group of football players in the audience were going to apologize after the show.  “The cast did not believe the apology was sincere,” Gibbons said.

“One spoke up and said they were sorry and didn’t mean to hurt our feelings,” Gibbons said. “Another said they found humor in the play and then they were gone and the academic advisor who was with them basically said they had never been to a play before and didn’t know what to expect.”


Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze tweeted Thursday morning, “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 facts.”

Freeze is a no-nonsense coach (one that does not drink or swear).  I’m confident he will take the correct action and punish those involved.

The Ole Miss Rebels (3-1, 1-1 SEC) square off with the Auburn Tigers (3-1, 1-1 SEC) in an SEC showdown on Oct. 5.

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