A note and apology on the controversy surrounding our regular theatre critic
Read More: RVA theatre
Update: we’ve since been alerted to several instances where plagiarism occurred. Kaufman’s posts have been removed from the site.
Hey there, Brad Kutner here,
I’m the editor of GayRVA and RVAMag.com. I take pride in the theatre coverage we post here at GayRVA, from reviews to previews, we’re proud to give a voice to the local theatre community whenever we can.
Recently our regular critic, Fred Kaufman, was found to have lifted lines for a recent review from another publication.
Freddy, as many loyal readers know, has been unafraid to call things as he sees it, much to the disappointment to some. Though disappointment is a word I’d use for how I feel right now, I do ask that readers keep a few things in mind:
1 – Freddy was relentless in his desire to cover theatre. He covered everything from main stage at Altria to small shows at high schools. Where ever this passion came from, it was always rooted in improving and supporting a community he loved and supported.
2 – The problem with being a critic is, when you make mistakes, those you’ve criticized in the past are all too happy to point it out.
Words like “integrity” have been thrown at me by a number of sources. Freddy was a volunteer contributor who would write over 1000 words on almost every show he saw – and he’d sometimes see three shows a weekend. As someone who is PAID to write and edit, 3000 words a week is not easy.
His lengthy contributions, though sometimes scathing, have been called “some of the most honest” by leading members of the RVA theatre community. When I would try to send other critics, some theaters would specifically ask Freddy to come in stead. And even if he was critical, he would point to positives as well, often picking out and naming the often forgotten behind-the-scenes folks that I so rarely saw considered in previous reviews.
That being said, misappropriation of words is a big deal in any circle. We’ve asked Freddy to step down to allow him to consider the impacts and weight his words carry. Below is an apology from Freddy in his own words.
Thanks for reading,
To the theatre going community and my valued readers:
Recently I made a horrible mistake and used a portion of another newspaper’s review in my own review for Virginia Repertory’s production of Airline Highway. I sometimes copy parts of other reviews to make sure I get the plot points right (I hate taking notes when I’m watching a play) and this time I didn’t double check that particular portion to take it. I meant no malice. The fact that I am an actor and not a journalist is no excuse.
I must apologize specifically to the Virginia Repertory Theatre for this inexcusable act. I would also like to apologize to the cast and crew of Airline Highway. I in no way meant to sully your dedicated work.
I beg forgiveness from my colleagues in the theatre community for whom I have worked so hard over my lifetime to build a reputation of integrity and honesty.
I lastly apologize to the editors and staff of GayRVA. The fact that I have brought disrepute to your fine publication makes me ill. You have given me a golden opportunity to write about a craft I love and I have done you harm.
I hope all concerned will find it in their hearts to forgive my transgression. I hope to grow old with you and I ask for the opportunity to prove my worthiness.
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