White Actress Refuses Black Actor’s Kiss
A White actress’ refusal to kiss her Black co-star on the lips during a play aimed to promote inter-racial relations has exploded into a major race row in South Africa.
22-year old Carolyn Forword says she did not walk out of the production of The Pied Piper of Hamlin because of the race of her co-star. Instead, she insists the repeated smooching is “unhygienic” and not suitable for the audience of young children for whom the show is intended.
Forword’s co-star, Unathi Dyantyi, is more than a little crushed.
“I felt like a piece of sh*t every time we had to do it because of the way she treated me,” whined Dyantyi, who says Forword shrank from his advances and pushed him away while during the performances. “She didn’t want to kiss me. She said she found it unnecessary and the kiss was unhygienic.”
“I’m speechless. What’s unhygienic about the kiss? And what’s unnecessary about it? It is necessary for what the director is aiming to do. He’s trying to convey a message that it’s OK for different cultures to fall in love. We’re a multicultural country and we’re trying to convey that.”
Forward, who recently returned to South Africa from a two-year hiatus in England, is upset that she is being portrayed as a “racist” in the media. “It is a play for eight-year-olds,” she said. “They wanted me to kiss the guy for 20 seconds, which is inappropriate for that audience. It wouldn’t have gone down well at a Catholic school, for example. It would have been unhygienic because it was a travelling show. I pulled out because the director never gave my agent an idea of where we were staying. It had nothing to do with the kissing thing. But now I’m seen as a racist.”
“If Carolyn really was a racist, would she really have agreed to perform in a play that promotes miscegenation?,” ask her supporters. Forward did 12 shows of The Pied Piper before pulling out, leaving the remaining 50 shows to her understudy.
The play’s director, Leslie Ehrhardt, supported Dyantyi’s account. “Without a doubt there was a racial element from the word go until the very end,” he said, adding that the controversial kiss lasted about 20 seconds during each show. “Carolyn underlined it with her general behavior towards Unathi. She pushed him away and her face was screwed up, as if kissing him was the worst thing in the world.
“She said to me in rehearsals that her doctor told her it was unhygienic to kiss on the stage. That took me by surprise. When we going to her old school, she said it would not go down well with her people, or words to that effect.”