I am Bruce Whitney, former music director for Harlequin Productions, the local theater company founded, developed, and nurtured by my brother, Scot, and his wife, Linda. I’m proud to have been part of a company that successfully raised the bar of artistic excellence in the Olympia area for over 25 years. But the events of the past eight months have been bewilderingly inexplicable.
On March 16, the Seattle Times published a smear piece initiated by two disgruntled Harlequin ex-employees, cashing in on the furor surrounding the #MeToo movement. The Harlequin board’s executive committee, led by president Ben Cushman, panicked. Rather than meeting with Scot and Linda to review the facts and work out a solution, they immediately chose to pander to the social media mob by embracing the vilifying, context-free story. Scot and Linda were summarily removed from the board and barred from any meetings or communication. Outrageous.
From there the board would not, or could not, back down. Scot’s “resignation” followed, and now, months later, Linda, after being marginalized and repeatedly harassed, has been terminated under vague and unsupported allegations. No evidence, no recourse.
Many patrons, bewildered by what’s happened, have expressed to me their shock, their concern for Scot and Linda, and have questioned their own willingness to continue supporting the theater. To be clear, I have nothing against the people who continue to work for Harlequin, but I am so thoroughly disgusted, I will never set foot in that theater again.