The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis has apologized days after a woman went on a racist tirade right before a Friday night performance of A Christmas Carol.
In a note to audience members from artistic director Joseph Haj and managing director James Haskins said they "failed to condemn the racist remarks hurled by the disruptive audience member.
"More importantly, we failed to apologize to audience, company members and staff who were harmed in our theater, particularly those who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC)," the letter added.
Related [Nov. 13]: Viral video: Guthrie Theater show delayed by audience member’s racist rant
The audience member who went on the tirade delayed the start of the performance by a half-hour.
"We utterly condemn the racist statements of the individual and offer our deepest apologies to all who were negatively impacted," Haj and Haskins wrote.
It's unclear what prompted the woman's behavior, but theatergoers discussed the issue on Twitter. One person said she wasn't sure how it started, but it happened "right as the lights were dimming to start the show and then we all heard yelling and it went crazy for like 40 minutes after that."
Another Twitter user said "Two people in front of her took a selfie during the curtain speech," which "made her very angry and she decided to take her mask off because they were also 'breaking the rules.'" The user also alleged that the woman spit on his friend after his friend told the woman to put her mask back on.
Another Twitter user claims the woman directed racist remarks at "non-white audience members sitting right in front of her."
The Guthrie's letter to patrons says it stands by its decision to wait for police instead of forcibly removing the woman from the theater.
"[We] wish to give assurance to all who enter our building that your safety and well-being is of utmost importance to us," Haj and Haskins wrote.
The Guthrie is currently reviewing "all safety and security protocols" and are planning to enhance training for staff, adding that the theater wants to continue to strive to make it a safe, welcoming and inclusive place for everyone.
The woman screaming racist comments occurred on the theater's first in-house performance since production shut down in March 2020.