Authorities at Ole Mississippi investigating gay slurs - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Authorities at Ole Mississippi investigating gay slurs

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(NBC) An investigation is underway after allegations that students and athletes were using gay slurs at a school play, which was about a man who was murdered for being gay.

Ole Miss officials issued a statement apology Thursday. It is a play that student actor Garrison Gibbons will never forget.

"People in the audience, [I] overheard them calling me a --- and calling me a ----," said Gibbons.

In the play, "The Laramie Project" Gibbons acts as Matthew Sheppard, who was a homosexual murdered in Wyoming. Gibbons, who is also gay, could not believe the words and laughter coming from the audience.

"I also realized that people were taking out their camera phones and taking photos of me," said Gibbons.

Assistant theatre department chair Michael Barnett says the play was meant to raise awareness and foster discussions about homosexuality, but not in the form of disruptions in the middle of the performance.

"It's only five or six rows deep so whatever they were saying was likely to be heard on stage," said Barnett.

Barnett said members of the football team apologized after the play, but some of the cast members did not buy it.

"There's been some question about if they understood why they were apologizing," said Barnett.

Students on campus were shocked to hear about the incident on Thursday.

Last year students yelled racial slurs after President Obama was re-elected. Most of the people said these actions of a few give the rest a black eye, but as long as incidents keep happening it is a scar that will not go away.

"As much as we'd like to think it's 2013 and in 1998 when Matthew Sheppard got murdered was a long time ago, I think we were reminded by this event that there still is hatred," said Gibbons.

A biased incident response team is investigating and will hand findings over to the school for possible action. See the school's statement here.

 

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