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RSC actor Leo Wringer: ‘Quentin Letts made an unforgivable racial slur against me’

Leo Wringer and Sophie Stanton in The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich. Photo: Helen Maybanks Leo Wringer and Sophie Stanton in The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich. Photo: Helen Maybanks
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Actor Leo Wringer has accused critic Quentin Letts of an “unforgivable racial slur” against him.

The actor, appearing in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich, criticised Letts for asking if Wringer had been “cast because he is black”.

Letts’ review added: “I suppose [the RSC’s] managers are under pressure from the Arts Council to tick inclusiveness boxes, but at some point they are going to have to decide if their core business is drama or social engineering.”

Responding in the Sunday Times, Wringer said that Letts’ review implied that the RSC and Arts Council England were “spreading a contagion in order to fulfil grant requirements”, which he labelled “insulting”.

“On the contrary, I believe they are clear-eyed, as they look beyond the surface of an actor’s skin, positively aiming to reflect the diversity of the society in which we live,” he wrote.

He called it “outrageous” that Letts had suggested the RSC was box-ticking just to get an ACE grant.

“I don’t usually read any reviews until after the production is over. I have no problem with criticism of my work and I’m not here to defend my performance, but Letts’ review caused such a bad odour that I couldn’t remain immured from its stench,” he said.

He added: “His comments were directed primarily at the RSC’s casting policies, but he also made an extended and unforgivable racial slur against me and my fellow actors of colour. We deserve an apology.”

Earlier this month, the RSC issued a response to the review, claiming Letts had demonstrated a “blatantly racist attitude to a member of the cast”.

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