November 25, 2003
If Cirque du Soleil thought it could fire a gymnast because he has HIV and nobody would notice, they were mistaken -- and, together, we're going to make that clear. We're telling Cirque that discrimination against people with HIV is wrong and won't go unanswered. Lambda Legal and dozens of local and national groups are protesting outside a number of Cirque du Soleil's performances around the country. It's just the beginning of a broad campaign Lambda Legal just launched with a powerful alliance of groups, called "Discrimination: Another Side of Cirque du Soleil."
The protests stem from a federal discrimination complaint Lambda Legal filed in July against Cirque du Soleil on behalf of Matthew Cusick, who was fired because he has HIV. Although the company's own doctors cleared him to safely perform, Cirque du Soleil management told Cusick that because he has HIV the company would not continue to employ him. In an attempt at damage control last week, Cirque began sending letters to members of the public admitting that it fired Matthew Cusick but claiming that's not "discrimination." More information on the case and the campaign is online at www.LambdaLegal.org.
Now we need your help. Please sign the web-based petition at www.lambdalegal.org/cgi-bin/iowa/cds.html. All of the signatures and notes are being collected and will be sent directly to Cirque du Soleil executives. We plan to send a large batch of petition names and notes to Cirque on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1., so please sign today and ask your friends and families to do the same. Thank you!
For more information about this issue, here are some previous articles: