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*A Montreal theater company is facing criticism for using an actor in blackface to portray black Canadiens player P.K. Subban.

A skit with the Subban character was part of a December show by the French-language Theatre du Rideau Vert.

Now a local band of artists and theater groups, Diversite Artistique Montreal, has penned an open letter condemning the performance and others like it, according to The Huffington Post.

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“I think we’re just calling for the importance of a discussion, and why the practice is outdated and really needs to stop,” Quincy Armorer, artistic director at the Black Theatre Workshop and a signer of the letter, said to CBC Radio. “People have a choice to use this practice that is rooted in racism, or they have a choice to not use it.”

Theatre du Rideau Vert’s 83-year-old artistic director, Denise Filiatrault, told Montreal’s La Presse that the portrayal of Subban “wasn’t blackface” and that she was humiliated by the backlash. “Either people do not have a sense of humor, or I am too old,” she said, adding that she didn’t hire a black actor to play Subban for such a small role because the company didn’t have the budget.

The bit, seen below, featured white actor Marc St-Martin as Subban, telling another player about his immense salary. Subban, a defenseman, signed a $72 million contract last summer.

A Canadian of Jamaican descent, Subban has been portrayed in blackface at least a few times previously. At the Sochi Olympics, a white fan wearing a Subban jersey showed up in blackface at the arena.

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And in 2010, two fans in blackface wearing Subban shirts attended a Canadiens game.

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