Shortly after Long Beach Opera canceled its show, “Stimmung,” due to the sudden resignation of show director Alexander Gedeon, newly released documents have shed more light on his decision.

While Gedeon, who was also the LBO’s minister of culture since 2020, left the organization recently, the Black Opera Alliance has since published a December resignation letter signed by Gedeon and two of his colleagues. In the letter, the three Black staff members—Gedeon, along with the company’s associate artistic director Derrell Acon and education coordinator Elijah Cineas—cited “a culture of misogyny” and “racial tokenism,” among other concerns.

The artists, though, post-dated their resignations in the letter to specific shows in 2022, so that they could finish their work, some of which was already in production. Gedeon had indicated he would stay on board through June 25, 2022.

As of publication, Cineas is the only current staff member still working for the LBO and will remain with the company until May.

In addition to the resignation letter, a personal statement from Gedeon was also published last week, in which he explained that despite wanting to see his production to the end, continuing to stay with the company made him complicit in the culture he and the other artists were sounding an alarm on.

In the December resignation letter, the artists wrote of several issues they cite as creating a “toxic” work culture for women and staff members of color. The letter described “an environment where women are marginalized, silenced, and devalued,” where racial tokenism is “endemic and indicative of larger issues: a lack of required skills and commitment to devise a cohesive leadership model, and a lack of initiative to authentically share power in the leadership structure.”

The resignation also proposed that the environment was the root of why many of its women and staff members of color had exited the company. The resignation letter did not cite any specific instances of a toxic work environment or misogyny; instead it offered statistics of the demographics of the opera’s most recent resignations.

“Two years ago, women comprised 60% and individuals of color comprised 50% of the small staff,” the letter said. “Since then, of the 12 employees who will have exited the company, six (or 50%) are women and seven (or 58%) are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).”

“The last six major hires for the company have all been white men,” the letter continued. “The company is poised to have an all-white (or white-presenting), overwhelmingly male staff by summer.”

Acon and Cineas could not immediately be reached for comment. Gedeon declined to comment beyond his personal statement.

In this file photo, Joelle Lamarre, who plays one of the mothers, visits her son (played by Derrell Acon) in the interrogation room during a rehearsal of “The Central Park Five,” on Saturday, June 1, 2019. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

A spokesperson for the Long Beach Opera said in a written statement it could not confirm the accuracy of the statistics because it was unclear which employees were included in the percentages.

“LBO has between 7-10 regular employees at any given moment, so the demographics shift considerably with the departure of just one or two employees,” the spokesperson said. “Right now, after the resignations, we have a total of 8 employees, and 3 of them are women.”

“LBO has not yet had the opportunity to replace recently departed or resigning employees.”

After the allegations put forth by the LBO staff members, the company said in a March 14 statement that it had hired a human resources firm to investigate the allegations and has spent the last two months interviewing LBO’s current and former staff members, as well as board members and independent contractor artists. Results from the investigation should be finished within a few weeks, LBO said, and “results will be made public at the time.”

LBO said it also retained a mediator to help address specific “action items company leadership could complete in order to support the artists who had filed complaints in continuing their work before the investigation was completed,” according to the formal online statement.

In his personal statement, Gedeon said he was disappointed with how LBO had taken action following the December resignation letter. By mid-February, Gedeon said, he told the “Stimmung” team in a meeting that he had plans to seek public accountability before the first show on March 19. In this meeting, Gedeon wrote that several team members expressed concerns about his own behavior, as well. Gedeon said the team members said he “enabled the same treatment we had spoken up for in our resignation letter by way of comments that were microaggressive in character, potentially disqualifying me from speaking up publicly.”

Gedeon did not provide any specific examples in his statement.

“The notion that I would be perpetuating the same culture which I surrendered my job for was devastating,” Gedeon wrote. “I was also squarely questioned as to whether I could effectively lead while pursuing this public action at the same time. In this moment of reckoning, I saw that I was unwittingly perpetuating more harm.”

In the “Stimmung” cancellation statement, the LBO said it takes all the accusations “very seriously” and “applauds the efforts of any staff member to bring their concerns to light.” The organization also noted that it has long pushed for more equity, diversity and inclusion, pointing particularly with the world premiere of “The Central Park Five” in 2018-2019 and with a series of five “Community Conversations” that discussed topics of race, equity and justice.

On the LBO website, it appears those conversations were led largely by Gedeon and Acon.