Yesterday, word started to break on Twitter that Just For Laughs New Faces booker Jeff Singer had repeatedly used the n-word and other racist remarks in an incident that occurred last week and how he has behaved overall badly over the years. The revelations against Singer began when a comic named Mehran Khaghani took to Twitter to call out Singer.
I'm not typing this shit out twice. Jeff Singer books Montreal. He's been a dick to too many comics I've known and if people in power are getting in trouble for being dickheads about social issues and casually dropping n-bombs, sweep this man out to sea. pic.twitter.com/5VfdxfTqHA
— Mehran Khaghani (@MehranX) June 5, 2021
Naturally, this lead to other comics and others in the industry coming forward and sharing their own experiences from over the years.
A comedian posted his story of homophobic treatment from Jeff Singer talent booker for the @justforlaughs Montréal festival. He’s been at it decades & accusations of his sexism/homophobia/racism are many. If you’re a comic who’s been mistreated by Jeff add it to this thread or…
— JEN KIRKMAN (@JenKirkman) June 5, 2021
Comedy has long had a gatekeeper problem. It’s easier for racist/sexist jerks to thrive in an industry with no barrier to entry and no worker protections. So many talented people have been overlooked or blocked access to $$ on account of arbitrary, sometimes toxic “tastemakers”
— Jena Friedman (@JenaFriedman) June 6, 2021
I heard from a very reliable source that Jeff Singer has been extremely transphobic to trans performers and once told a trans comic that they would get a lot farther in comedy if they stopped talking about being trans. Truly **** this man https://t.co/g3WIBTvJWY
— Nori Reed (@nori_reed) June 5, 2021
I hated dealing with jeff singer when I was AD of UCBTNY, but was of course accommodating because I wanted our talent seen. Then he suddenly wanted to text instead of email and then he asked me to lunch “got a special place in mind for you.” I told him I was too busy. Dry heave!
— Shannon O'Neill (@spotastic) June 6, 2021
This all kept brewing over the week until yesterday, when Singer took to Facebook to talk about what happened and announce that he is resigning from his position with Just For Laughs. This news was first broken by The Comic’s Comic.
“I was at a comedy club having a conversation with some people and I made a huge error in judgment,” Singer wrote. “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. 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.”
This morning, Just For Laughs released their own statement on what happened.
“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. 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.”