Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Barbour Affair: A Minor Trifle?

Barbour Affair: A Minor Trifle?

I remember sitting in the audience for the recent touring production of Camelot, thumbing through my Playbill and realizing that James Barbour would be in the production.

It wasn't his terrific portrayal from Assassins as President William McKinley's killer Leon Czolgosz that sparked my recognition. No, it was something even more sinister.

Although I'm a big believer in innocent until proven guilty, I couldn't help but think of the indictment against him throughout the course of the performance and how bizarre it seemed that someone with those charges against him would be free to traverse the country.

Now, he's pleaded guilty to two lesser misdemeanor charges of sexually fondling a then-15 year old girl. But according to New York Post's Michael Riedel, that includes engaging her a la Bill Clinton. As part of the plea bargain, he won't be subject to sex offender laws, which means he can travel the country without any type of notification and he can work with minors.

Riedel points out that Barbour will still be moving forward with his lead role in the upcoming Broadway-bound Tale Of Two Cities musical:
On Feb. 29, Barbour, who was also in Beauty And the Beast" and Assassins, will be sentenced to two months in jail and three years' probation for endangering the welfare of a minor.

His stint in the clinker (with good behavior, he'll be out in 38 days) shouldn't interfere with the production schedule of A Tale Of Two Cities.
Mothers, no doubt, might have a dickens of a time allowing their young daughters to see this show unescorted.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 09 January, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

May I suggest sending Ron Sharpe - the producer of A Tale of Two Cities - your thoughts concerning James Barbour's actions and Mr. Sharpe (and his producing partner, his wife) decision to go forward with him. Here is their website:
(worth a visit)
and contact info:
After his initial time in jail, Barbour will have three years of probation where his actions (and interactions with minors) will be monitored as if he was registered. But after what he's done...

At 09 January, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Barbour is not a child molester. The girl knew what she was doing. The age of consent in most European countries is 14.

At 09 January, 2008, Blogger Esther said...

If I had a teenager, I certainly wouldn't want her to be anywhere near him. As a theatergoer, I don't know. I've got to admit that it would make me feel a little uncomfortable seeing him on stage. No matter how old the girl is, she's still a "girl," and as an adult, Barbour should have known better. On the other hand, it's not like I check the rap sheet of every performer before I go to a show or see a movie.

I'd like to see the current national tour of Camelot when it stops in my city, but I know that Lou Diamond Phillips, who plays King Arthur, pleaded no contest last year to domestic battery. I loved him as Richie Valens in the movie La Bamba years ago, but knowing that he was involved in an incident of domestic violence, well, I just don't know whether I could put it out of my mind. On the other hand, if he's paying his debt to society, getting counseling, doing community service, am I being unfair? If you believe in rehabilitation, you've got to honor that.

At 09 January, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Second Anonymous, First of all, regardless of what the age of consent is in Europe or even across the Hudson River in New Jersey, the age of consent is 17 in New York State. Mr. Barbour broke the law, and the fact that he had the girl to his apartment is disgusting.

On your other point, how do you personally know the girl knew what she was doing? Do you have proof?

At 09 January, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Esther, I agree with your point about paying your debt to society. But unfortunately, just as I'll never be able to listen to a Michael Jackson song the same again (and he was exonerated!), I wouldn't be able to sit in a James Barbour audience again without thinking of his conviction.

At 04 March, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve on Broadway: Let me fill you in on some FACTS. " did the girl know what she was doing? This "girl" had a boyfriend at the time, and there is no question in my mind that she had been practicing oral sex on him, as well(if you don't believe this, I think you need to get in touch with the real world, nowdays;girls even younger ARE having intercourse, not just oral sex)). She was NO innocent "victim";she could have said no to Mr. Barbours' advances. The point is, she sought this situation. The encounter was not a "casual" taking advantage of a minor situation. They were properly introduced, were from the same town, had the theatre as common interest, she went ALONE to see him(twice!) AND no question in my mind that she originated the notion of sex. A man ususally does not take the risk of rejection, unless he KNOWS the female is willing. She also e-mailed with him for 4 years, after Mr. Barbour ended this at the second encounter. Age on "consent" is relative, depending on where you are from. At 15(and I am a woman who at 15 was innocent about this stuff, but still knew, since earlier than that age, that this behaviour was innapropriate, especially with an older man), a girl is usually not allowed to travel to NYC alone, and unsupervised. If she "felt" shame and guilt from the fondling, WHY was she back in NYC AND in his apartment a few months later?! Also, let's point out that she was a couple of months short of turning 16(not as young as they want to portray her).
The press has totally trashed Mr. Barbour from the beginning. Articles came out denouncing him as a pedophile EVEN before he went to court. Since then, "molester" and "beast" have been attached to his name consistently, no doubt to seek "sensationalism" in reporting. If you pay attention to some recent comments(Daily News-kentd-sad nobody came to Mr. Barbour's defense before this, press-wise), the commenter WAS in court, and noted that the reporter for the DN here was totally off in his reporting, and important issues that would favor Mr. Barbour, were left out. No wonder he is in jail right now. This guy is decent, caring, and a true professional. But he is also human, and, yes, being seduced by an almost 16 year old, might not have been so far fetched for any other man, as well. What has been done to him, started by this woman and continued by the press, is sad. This situation is what is called a "frame up". Note the woman's own comments in court, as they sounded quite phony and rehearsed to me, and from other comments I have read, others agree. Leave Mr. Sharpe and his wife alone. WHY is ANYONE going so strongly out to get this actor...and to prevent him from working again...? A lot of questions for me here, since what he did with this girl was more immature, than "adult' sexual behaviour(no intercourse was had) I think this guy has aroused some potent enemies out there(perhaps jealousy?)and they are capitalizing on this situation to bring his name down in the mud, so deep, as to never rise from it again! I happen to have seen him in Tale, and without him, this play would not have been the same. He has worked hard to get where he is, and has shown an enormous amount of good character AND responsibilty in his profession. As someone who has plenty of male relatives, and friends, it would traumatize me to see one of them being seduced into a situation like this, and then being bashed, and put in jail! Check out the comment also that the prosecutor insisted on NOT allowing the e-mails this woman exchanged with the Mr. Barbour, AFTER she claims she was traumatized with "shame" and "guilt" and "alienated" herself from family and friends--all friendly and thanking him for mentoring and helping her.(I seem to recall visiting her 'blog", where she protrays herself as a VERY normal young adult, with plenty of friends' profiles, AND in a relationship-also attended NYU). Well, I guess all her shame and guilt stopped when she accussed Mr. Barbour, and even her career took off "immediately"...
For the mothers out there, I would be more concerned about your sons than your daughters. Teach them to watch for this kind of situation, and avoid being sucked into what could destroy them as persons, let alone men, permanently. And if you have a daughter, WHY allow her to go alone anywhere(Theater, NYC...)...? If you value your daughter's "innoccence", then protect it from the start until she is "of age" in your opinion. Mr. Barbour has never "raped", "forced" himself on anyone(the CA accuser was a spiteful third party who called the hotline) and he is no pedophile either. As a matter of fact, he has more than plenty of women, of all ages, who would want to be with him, not just on a sexual level.

At 04 March, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Anonymous: Your account would lead me to believe that you are personally very close to Mr. Barbour and are trying to mitigate as best you can all the bad press he's received. He's fortunate to have a friend like you.

Let's suppose for a moment that everything you've said is absolutely true.

It still does not diminish the fact that the primary reason why teenagers under the age of 18 are not treated as adults. That is, they do not have the appropriate maturity to use their best judgment like most adults would. And I say "most" because clearly Mr. Barbour chose not to use his best judgment in this particular case.

That is why we do not allow them to enter into legal contracts without the express permission of their parents or guardians. That is why we do not allow them to vote. That is why we do not allow them to drink alcohol. That is why we have set by law minimum age requirements for sexual activities with adults.

There is a responsibility that all of us as adults have not to give in to whatever illegal temptations we might have, whether it's having sex with a 15 year old (oral or otherwise) or doing druges or getting behind the wheel of a car drunk or stealing, etc.

Mr. Barbour clearly broke the law and should have known better.


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