As a member of the theatre community who has long supported artists and creatives alike, I use my platform to promote talent. I go to press evenings openminded and make sure I provide an accurate, professional and constructive review. On Theatre Scotland’s social media pages, also on our news and opinion pages, I do not criticize members of the community unless there is a very strong reason. Even if I do so, I make sure to do so constructively with professionalism and let our followers make their own minds up. All of the Theatre Scotland team does this. Infact every theatre critic I have met or admire has a professional deminer, and do not attack artists or creatives via their platform.
Recently I have been sitting back and watching carnage unfold on social media in regards to Alex Belfield. As much as I do not want to give this man another spotlight to soak up. Times up for me sitting back and it’s time to use this platform to voice anger, disgust and concern. This article has been written to try and be as constructive as possible however, at this point the situation with this individual has turned into a joke, therefore, it might get a little heated.
This man seems to think he is the genuine article and even though he has a large following on YouTube, his channel features nothing more than basic vlogs and toxic opinions. His reviews are very uncontructive, his news updates are all negative and not a single one is positive. These opinions are clearly to rile up members of the theatre community and build up his views through shock reaction. The biggest disbelief of his channel is he genuinely thinks that the theatre industry will invite him to press launches or press evenings after the clear uproar within the UK theatre community at him using the shutdown of the west end as his gain.
Behind the camera it’s much of the same story, starting arguments in the comments sections of his videos, arguing with people on Twitter, threatening people with legal action for calling him out and bullying people into retracting comments. I would advise you all to check out Philip Dehany from That Stagey Blog’s documentation of the harassment he received from Belfield (https://www.thatstageyblog.com/post/stop-alex-belfield).
If you want to know what has caused me to suddenly call out this man, it’s one of his most recent videos filled with bile. As everyone knows, Theatre Scotland has been a strong supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and believe that urgent action is needed to be taken within the UK theatre industry to assure our casting directors are being diverse in who they are casting in leading roles. To celebrate the black community within the West End and show solidarity with Black Lives Matter, there is going to be a special charity concert called ‘TURN UP!’ which is going to be broadcast online next month. It is an all-black cast that is going to be featured within this concert. Alex Belfield has turned this celebration into a racial row where he is now calling this concert racist for not casting a single white person. Even though there are plenty of shows with all white casts, and there is practically none with an all-black cast. But of course us West End “types” are stupid for suggesting that the black community within the West End should take a lead on this. Take a look at the video below:
Alex is clearly voicing this opinion to gain views, plus seem more and more controversial. Using racial statements as a gain for his views is disgusting. In my eyes this man has no understanding of humanity or the real world, he thinks that it matters having subscribers rather than actually having some respect and dignity.
This video has gone on to attract all types of racist creatures into his YouTube comments section, take a look, it is rather disturbing.
If Alex wishes to email me to defend himself or threaten me then so be it, however, I am taking this matter very seriously and it’s time he realized that eventually this lockdown is going to end, and the conditions of how he works is going to change, which to me forcasts a massive drop in viewers. Especially since he will have no content as he has most likely cut all his ties with his embracing of this toxic persona.
Alex, you can claim you’re not being racist and say that I am not being open for a conversation. However, it’s clear that you are using this subject matter as a device for your gain and not actually to have a logical conversation. It’s clear this concert is not racist and is a diverse showcase of the talent we have in the West End and Broadway.
-Lewis C. Baird
Editor of Theatre Scotland