Jeff Singer, a talent booker behind the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal who is responsible for the New Faces showcase, has resigned after repeatedly using the N-word in front of auditioning comedians.
Comedian Mehran Khaghani said in a social media post on Friday that he overheard Singer using the N-word at a club, saying he was just repeating the language of another person of color.
“He said he was just repeating, verbatim, the language of a poc he was talking to,” Khaghani said in the post on both Facebook and Twitter. “People tried to stop and educate him and he just doubled and tripled down.”
Singer apologized for his behavior on Sunday, saying he made a “huge error in judgment,” and announced that he had resigned from Just for Laughs.
“I asked a question and repeated back a phrase that someone said and it was completely wrong to do that. There was no malice when I said it. Nevertheless it was 100% wrong and I should have known better immediately,” Singer said in a statement. “Clearly it was insensitive and I deeply regret it. To that end, I submitted my resignation to Just For Laughs over the weekend. I have learned from this experience and will make sure it never happens again. I sincerely apologized privately to the ones directly affected. I apologize to anyone else I offended that night from my thoughtless words. I am imperfect and will take away everything I can from this to do better.”
Elsewhere in his post, Khaghani said Singer had often overlooked women, people of color and LGBTQ comedians in his role as a booker. The comedian mentioned his own story auditioning for Singer, saying his persona as a gay comic was lost on him and that Singer commented, “I’ve seen gay before.”
Comedian Jen Kirkman also tweeted a thread of anonymous claims of sexism against Singer, saying, “He’s been at it decades & accusations of his sexism/homophobia/racism are many.”
Just For Laughs issued a statement on Monday (via Vulture) in response to the accusations against Singer. TheWrap has reached out to Just for Laughs for comment.
“We acknowledge those who came forward this past weekend and shared their experiences. JFL has a commitment to listen and provide a safe and respectful workplace,” the statement read. “To that end, Just for Laughs has a strict code of conduct policy. We do not tolerate abusive, inappropriate or vexatious behaviors. Anyone working with Just for Laughs must treat fellow artists, industry, employees and audiences with equality, respect and dignity.”