The team behind the Tony Award-winning production "Hamilton" slammed a Texas church for making "unauthorized changes" while reenacting the play, which included the addition of Christian-centric lines and homophobic comparisons.
Over the weekend, footage of a "Hamilton" performance by The Door Christian Fellowship, a nondenominational church in McAllen, Texas, went viral for its edited lines referencing Jesus Christ and an added sermon that compared homosexuality to drug addiction.
“Maybe you struggle with alcohol, with drugs – with homosexuality – maybe you struggle with other things in life, your finances, whatever, God can help you tonight. He wants to forgive you for your sins," a performer said during the church's August 5 and 6 "Hamilton" productions.
On Tuesday (August 9), Shane Marshall Brown, a spokesperson for the renowned play, denounced the performances in a statement to USA Today.
"'Hamilton' does not grant amateur or professional licenses for any stage productions and did not grant one to The Door Church. We issued a cease-and-desist letter for the unauthorized use of Hamilton’s intellectual property, demanding the immediate removal of all videos and images from previous productions from the internet, including YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, their own website, and elsewhere," the statement reads.
"The Hamilton family stands for tolerance, compassion, inclusivity, and certainly LGBTQ+ rights. We are in the process of reviewing the unauthorized changes made to the script to determine further action."
After footage from the church's August 5 performance garnered national attention, live streams and social media posts were taken down and made inaccessible for the second production held the following day.
Per copyright law, copyrighted music can be used during religious services, but churches aren't allowed to distribute or stream such performances.
Roman Gutierrez, a senior pastor at the Door Christian Fellowship, said in a statement that the church had initially gotten legal permission from the 'Hamilton' team to produce the show. Gutierrez also pushed back against allegations that the church's edited version of the play was anti-LGBTQ.
According to USA Today, a spokesperson for Door Christian Fellowship of McAllen said on Tuesday that the church would not be issuing any public response following the "Hamilton" team's statement.