A Jewish lesbian comic has claimed kosher-certification rabbis bullied Brooklyn restaurants into canceling her comedy shows due to her sexuality.
Leah Forster is a well-known comedian in the Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community.
Twice in the past month, kosher food venues canceled Forster’s sold-out shows. The reason? Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox community and the rabbis who approve kosher food certifications pressured them into doing so, according to Forster.
She further alleged the owners of Garden of Eat In and Orchidea both explicitly told her they were asked to cancel because Forster is a lesbian.
‘I’ve never spoken about my sexuality’
The comedian then took to Facebook to explain the situation in a video.
‘Let me be very clear. I know the owners of both venues PERSONALLY. Both of them were sincere. BOTH offered me free food when they were Forced to cancel..both offered to find me a new place… both tried their best to accommodate me…,’ she wrote.
‘THE OWNERS, in a way, are VICTIMS TOO. ITS ALMOST LIKE THEY WERE FORCED TO DISCRIMINATE AGAINST ME. BOTH are kind good GENUINE humans and Jews – It’s NOT them. It’s the system. And there are parts of the system that have deeply hurt me. Simply for being me. DISCRIMINATION.’
She also said in the video: ‘What just boggles my mind is that I’ve never spoken about my sexuality publicly.’
Forster began to perform for secular audiences
Forster, in fact, was a really popular comedian until she was outed as a lesbian four years ago, which led to her being shunned by her family.
‘My parents disowned me and told me not to sit shiva when they die,’ she said, referring to the traditional week of Jewish mourning after a death.
‘I rebuilt myself a beautiful new life, I have a flourishing new career, I refuse to be a victim. I’m a happy positive person,’ Forster added.
Forster then began to perform for secular audiences, but also began to attract Orthodox followers on social media. She got requests to perform in Brooklyn and planned two shows in an Orthodox neighborhood, including one on New Year’s Day.
Forster also shared a screengrab of a WhatsApp message in the original story by New York’s Daily News. She said it was being shared among the Orthodox Jewish community in order to kill her comedy routine.
‘One of the performers is openly lesbian, is married to another woman and flaunts this way of life,’ the message, whose source couldn’t be verified, states.
‘Every part of this event is against halacha [the Jewish religious law] and against every moral fiber of our community.’
GSN has reached out to the restaurants for further comment.