Broadway actor Chad Kimball, who was among the first wave of people in New York City to become infected with the virus, has received backlash for a tweet in which he promised to “respectfully disobey” Washington state restrictions on singing at church services.
Singing has long been identified as a major risk factor for spreading the virus, as it expels aerosol droplets over long distances. Kimball, a star of the currently suspended Come From Away, said that Governor Jay Inslee’s restriction was about “power” rather than safety.
He said in his bizarre rant:
Respectfully, I will never allow a Governor, or anyone, to stop me from SINGING, let alone sing in worship to my God. Folks, absolute POWER corrupts ABSOLUTELY. This is not about safety. It’s about POWER. I will respectfully disobey these unlawful orders. #inslee #Tyranny #truth pic.twitter.com/84UDiozOd1
— Chad Kimball (@chadkimball1) November 15, 2020
Almost immediately, Kimball was hit with backlash from other actors, including actors from the show.
Chad, you sound a lot like the Republican councilman I heard say “I WILL have a huge family Thanksgiving! Government can’t tell me how many people I have in my house.” Its ignorant. It’s arrogant. It’s selfish. It lacks ALL empathy for other humans except yourself. Unacceptable.
— Julie Reiber Bennett (@juliereiber) November 16, 2020
I respectfully totally and completely disagree with you. I respectfully feel you are very much on the wrong side of this.
I FaceTimed with you when you had Covid, Chad. You were very sick. I remember. It scared me.
I love you like a brother, but I disagree with you. ♥️
— sharon wheatley (@sswheatley) November 15, 2020
Hey, did you ever see Bway show “Come from Away” where total strangers help each other, even when it’s a terrible inconvenience because it’s a global emergency? That’s what we’re being asked to do, but it’s actually a lot easier than in that play. You should see it.
— MmeDF (@MmeDefargeKnits) November 16, 2020
Chad, I know I don’t know you well, but I am compelled to respond to this- this is NOT about power or tyranny. This is very much about looking out for your fellow man. This is about sacrificing things temporarily for the good of all. No one is stopping you from
— John Tartaglia (@johnnytartags) November 15, 2020
Respectfully, I am sure the families and friends of Terrence McNally and Nick Cordero would disagree with you. You had Covid you recovered. They were not so lucky. There but for the grace of God go I.
— Donna Hatton (@legalhatz) November 16, 2020
Terrence McNally, a well-known playwright and librettist who has written several Broadway shows, as well as Nick Cordero, a film, TV, and stage actor, both passed away this year due to complications from the virus.
Other Broadway actors invoked their deaths in their criticisms of Kimball.
No, brother. Respectfully, I have to disagree. You had Covid, our industry is in shambles with no sign to come back anytime soon, we’ve all been unemployed for 8 months and have lost so much. I’m pretty sure after 250,000 deaths God wants you to save lives. Sing to him from home.
— Mauricio Martínez (@martinezmau) November 16, 2020
No one said you can’t sing. You can sing. Alone. In your own home. Possibly for the rest of your life, after this tweet. https://t.co/CHMznO5dZc
— Patti Murin (@PattiMurin) November 16, 2020
Remember when you and 3/4 of your Come From Away cast got Covid, probably from singing in each other’s faces, and how that same thing happened to basically every show on Broadway https://t.co/seJpl68ort
— David Gordon (@MrDavidGordon) November 16, 2020
Government acting to protect public health is not TYRANNY it is doing its job. Tyranny is doing what you want even when it brings harm to others and calling it FREEDOM. It’s also selfishness. I hope I never have to be in a rehearsal room with you. https://t.co/uFM2I288VT
— Judy Kuhn (@JudyKuhn1) November 16, 2020
👀 if you guys need something to read while you sip on your nightly alcohol, ta da https://t.co/yprTufh6RK
— livevamaria (@EvaNoblezada) November 16, 2020
Broadway actors seem to have lost patience across the board with Mr. Kimball, who has donated to Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and whose Twitter feed contains constant references to anti-Black Lives Matter causes, such as #backtheblue.
It’s the SINGING in all caps for me!!! 🤣🤣🤣 https://t.co/wwhUlgUqTy
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) November 16, 2020
Let’s make one thing clear about Chad Kimball.
Through his apparent political donations, he endorses candidates who are bigots, wants to see them in positions of power, and sees nothing wrong with what they’ve done to marginalized people for at least the past 4 years.
— OnStage Blog (@OnstageBlog) November 17, 2020
It really doesn’t seem like too much to ask that when you go to gatherings of up to TWO HUNDRED PEOPLE you refrain from using your well-trained diaphragm to aerosol spray everyone around you with Covid.
— Jarrod Spector (@jarrodspector) November 16, 2020
When the music director takes away your solo. pic.twitter.com/V4cqziFJSz
— Gideon Glick (@gidglick) November 16, 2020
You had COVID and recovered. So now you take no responsibility in helping others not get sick – even if they die. Is it 'love thy neighbor' or 'screw thy neighbor'? No one is going to tell you not to do your part to prevent sickness and death – you wanna sing! Very Godly.
— Bobby Pearce (@bobbypearce) November 16, 2020
Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong. Chad this is an ass backwards statement, respectfully. https://t.co/2bEKwV683B
— Drew Gasparini (@DrewGasparini) November 16, 2020
Sing. In. The. Shower. GOD WILL HEAR YOU. I PROMISE. This is wreckless, dangerous & irresponsible to people who support you. https://t.co/S7qfxXNFsW
— Marissa Rosen (@TheMarissaRosen) November 15, 2020
Dude…This isn’t respectful at all really.
— Marty Thomas (@martythomasbway) November 15, 2020
— Jessica Vosk (@JessicaVosk) November 15, 2020
Much like his vocal cords, this won’t age well. https://t.co/BPky1kDrWH
— ellyn marsh (@ellynmarsh) November 16, 2020
— Neil Haskell (@NeilHaskell) November 16, 2020
Honestly though…nobody wants to hear those pinched tones anyway….
— Colin Patrick Hanlon (@ColinHanlon) November 16, 2020
The ones who quote the Bible most seem to be the ones who follow its teachings the least. This is not about you and your need to sing your praise songs. I’m almost certain selfishness is frowned upon in that big book of yours. Wear a mask. Take care of your fellow humans.
— Kazee He/Him (@SteveKazee) November 16, 2020
Kimball’s career will hang in the balance as Broadway struggles to put itself back together over the next few years.
Hopefully Broadway will send a clear message that this is not okay.