What’s a drama school without a little theatrics?
When a mother discovered her children’s drama teacher was gay, she banned them from attending his classes.
“You have a strong reputation for performing arts which encouraged me to sign my children up for classes,” she told Michael Neri, 26, in a text message.
“I have recently learned of your lifestyle and as a Christian I cannot allow my children to be influenced by unconventional ideas.
“It is our belief that a man should marry a woman.”
She also requested that her deposit be refunded.
The teacher’s response was classic.
Neri informed the homophobic mother that theatre without homosexuality is like “cooking without spices”.
“I pride my students on the respect and love they have for others and their passion for equality,” he replied by text message.
“As far as I’m aware, my sexuality doesn’t effect (sic) my ability to teach, just like it wouldn’t effect (sic) a doctor’s ability to treat one of your children should they become unwell.
“I’m sure your children’s health would come first should they need emergency treatment, or would you need to check their doctor’s lifestyle prior to their life saving operation?”
Neri wished her the best of British in finding an “appropriate” stage school.
“I hear (rival theatre school) StageCoach are enrolling,” he added, “but their teachers have been known to wear mixed fabrics which I’m sure you are aware is forbidden in the Bible.” (Leviticus 19:19)
Neri later told the Birmingham Standard the “cooking without spices” comment had been conceived in the heat of the moment.
“I had to read her message twice,” he said. “It was a little hurtful at first to receive that – more so because I was being judged on something that was nothing to do with my professionalism or ability to teach drama.
“I grew up in a religious background – my mum was a studying Jehovah’s Witness so I knew what I was talking about.
“This lady is more than entitled to her opinions. I wanted to give her my opinion, but not disrespect her – she’s entitled to her faith.”
Neri said he tried to give the woman a courtesy call when the messages went viral on Facebook and Twitter but she had not responded.
“I feel she needs to update her way of thinking. The Bible makes some valid points but it’s out of date. Otherwise, we would all be forbidden to wear polyester.
“You can’t help who you fall in love with.”
As for returning her deposit? Neri signed off with a coup de gras.
“Deposits are non-refundable, but don’t worry – your deposit has been donated to Stonewall, an LGBT charity.”