Ryan Bowie quits Roxy Theatre, demands full pay, retirement, benefits, severance

Ryan Bowie quits Roxy Theatre, demands full pay, retirement, benefits, severance

In a resignation letter today from embattled Roxy Regional Theatre Director Ryan Bowie, he details reasons he says he must quit, including his professional headshot being displayed “amid convicts.” As he resigns, he makes demands for a lump sum payment of the remainder of his yearly salary, a severance package, full health insurance, and a retirement package…

“This is a very difficult letter for me to write, but it is time for me to write it. I am turning in my resignation letter as Executive Director of the Roxy Regional Theatre, effective immediately. The last thirteen years of my career here at the Roxy Regional Theatre have been filled with many ups and downs, but none like I am experiencing now. The environment that I have been forced to inhabit for the last several months and Clarksville, as a whole, has become a hostile work environment, filled with blatant and ever-changing retaliation against me and my husband. The perpetuation of falsehoods and complacency in defense has led to heinous accusations and death threats, and this is no longer a safe place for my career and well-being.”

“They were allowed to demand a severance package, a retirement plan, credit card payments, and not have any repercussions for their actions. I dealt with the repercussions of their departure, and the inferences of the public. I then began to slowly build this company, alongside the Board of Directors, into something I thought was best. We have had ups and downs with Board Members and employees, and I have CERTAINLY made mistakes. But I have owned up to every mistake and tried to turn a new leaf every time making this the best company I could and being the best person, I could be. However, time and time again, past events are brought to the forefront as if they still exist and no progress or growth has been made both personally and professionally.

“Fast forward to 2021 and the equity and equality conversation from the City Council that was heaped on my shoulders. I thought this was something I would not be able to make it through but did. I not only had to stand up for myself as a gay man, but also stand up for the organization that has always been a safe place for everyone. I have always tried to lead this company with the utmost integrity and with my brain and heart always focused on equity, diversity, equality, and inclusion. We took this, defended ourselves, and implemented broader steps to make sure there was no question as to where the heart of this company was centered.

“Now the allegations from previous actors, about which I have provided full transparency to make sure that my name was cleared, are the most personal of all. My professional headshot had been posted amid convicts, I had been called numerous untruths that do not bare any weight or validity to reiterate, but continued to push blatant falsehoods and highlighting one side of the story and the complaints have been allowed to continue their very one-sided narrative. Some of these articles led to direct death threats to me, encouragement to insight harm and riots and protest and to ‘raise hell.’ Given the current events in our nation and around the world, I do not take these threats and language lightly.

“We see what happens in movie theatres and schools and in our Nation’s Capital. I do not feel that anyone has actively and appropriately stuck up for me and defended the decisions made for improvement. In return, my integrity, and my thirteen years of service and dedication to this organization are being smeared.

“In February 2023 the Board of Directors held a closed session for a six-month review about the progress being made. When reported to me, the board agreed that appropriate strides and positive progress had been made. The only constructive piece of feedback brought to me was the need for a contract to protect myself and the organization. Since May 2014, when I took on the role as interim Executive Director, and even on July 15, 2014, when I took on the role of full time Executive Director, I have never had an employment contract. Negotiations were to be held to determine the language and description of those job duties, with no forward progress.

“As I have said many times before, I think it is healthy for there to be change within any organization. I have always known this would not be my ‘forever’ career. I did not know these types of allegations or lack of appropriate employee protection would be the springboard for my resignation, but my mental and physical health are at risk, and it has become clear, for my own well-being I must resign.”

“As this organization did with the previous Executive and Artistic Directors, individuals that did blatant harm, I am requesting some sort of severance package as I will be left with essentially nothing. Until a year ago, I had no form of benefits, and even after the thirteen years here only have a very small amount of savings as I have been severely underpaid for most of my time in Clarksville. I would like to request a retirement package, amenable to the previous directors, and one that was so easily approved for the by the Board of Directors. I would like to request the remainder of my pay for the current calendar year, to be paid in a lump sum. I would like for my health insurance, of which I fought for all employees, to be honored through the end of the calendar year.

“Please know that for the last thirteen years, I have truly loved coming to work. I have loved that the Roxy has been my artistic outlet and I feel confident that I have made a major impact on this community, Middle Tennessee, countless actors and students, and thousands of patrons. Thank you for entrusting me with Roxy Productions, Inc. in many ways for all these years. I wish this organization all the best as you continue the 40th Anniversary Season.”

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One thought on “Ryan Bowie quits Roxy Theatre, demands full pay, retirement, benefits, severance

  1. Injustice still happening in 2023/4721? One would think by now humans would’ve evolved past, petty, backstabbing, rumor mongering and the like. Let’s do better people. 😊 Think logically and decipher the truth. 🤔 😊

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