An upcoming comedy festival in New York City is charging different rates for attendees in an apparent effort to check the privilege of straight white men.
The Cinderblock Comedy Festival will be held Sept. 15-18 in the hipster stronghold of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. With the festivities just seven months away, organizers are already urging potential performers to apply to perform.
But the festival has one very notable policy: Currently, only women, non-whites and those who identify as LGBT are allowed to apply for an early-bird price of $19.25. Straight white men, on the other hand, will only be allowed to apply starting March 15, and they’ll have to pay $25 to do so.
Festival director Coree Spencer said the discount was intended to closely match the oft-quoted and oft-criticized statistic that women earn just 77 percent of what men earn.
“The 77 cents to the dollar is definitely a political statement,” Spencer told The Daily Dot. “Originally that 77-cent discount was supposed to be just for women in the early stages. … As I was doing a little more research and kind of growing as a human being, I realized that that discount should be extended out to other groups that I want to be part of it [in order] to create the festival that I want.”
Besides being a poke at the alleged wage gap, the different fees also relate to frequent complaints that comedy is overly dominated by white men. Spencer argues that Cinderblock is intended to be a diverse festival, with non-white male comics included as a core feature rather than an afterthought.
Spencer told The Daily Dot that she is considering discriminating with ticket prices as well. If she does, she may risk running afoul with New York anti-discrimination law, which bars discrimination based on sex, race and other factors in the provision of services.
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