The Calgary Plaza Theatre will screen the controversial documentary The Red Pill Tuesday night, after reversing its decision to cancel the show.
The 2016 film stars filmmaker Cassie Jaye—a self-identified former feminist—and documents what it calls the “Men’s Rights Movement” through a series of interviews. It covers issues such as male suicide rate, workplace deaths and domestic abuse.
Last Sunday, the theatre posted a statement on its Facebook page saying the screening was being cancelled.
While there was no indication as to why the decision was made, the post was subsequently deleted and the theatre’s management confirmed they will, in fact, be screening the movie.
Plaza manager Logan Cameron said the theatre has received both positive and negative reactions from the public regarding the venue cancelling the screening and then rescheduling it.
“Although the Plaza Theatre maintains the right of freedom of expression and is proud to be a Calgarian and Canadian institution, we do not necessarily condone the viewpoints expressed from people or organizations which rent our venue, nor the films they choose to screen here,” Cameron said. “It is up to the fine people of this city to either see the film or ignore it.”
The film, which is being hosted by social media group Fathers Rights Alberta, has sparked controversy in the past and was cancelled at the University of Calgary in March after being deemed offensive.
“The viewing is going ahead as scheduled,” asserted a spokesperson for the group via Facebook. “We met the requirements of The Plaza, and we will be hosting a peaceful family event tonight for the viewing of The Red Pill.”
The group doesn’t expect violence despite backlash from the public and social media users, but the theatre itself announced it will be conducting a peaceful protest during the screening.
“In conjunction with The Red Pill private screening tonight inside The Plaza Theatre at 6:30, The Plaza Theatre is proud to announce the first ever OUTSIDE SCREENING of “MOVIE GOERS WATCHING MOVIE GOERS WATCH A MOVIE!” reads the post.
The theatre said in the Facebook post the silent protest will be conducted in conjunction with the YWCA Sheriff King Centre of Calgary, Sidestreet Pub & Grill, Fairy Tales Film Festival and Calgary police. Staff from Sidestreet Pub & Grill and Fairy Tales Film Festival had decided against participating in the protest as of 5 p.m., Cameron told Global News.
Candace Muttitt, who is also with Fathers Rights Alberta, suggested claiming the film is misogynistic is a tactic to silence the issues faced by boys and men, and laments the backlash The Plaza has faced.
“The attacks towards The Plaza Theatre for renting the space were unjustifiable,” she said. “They are a business that offers a venue for viewings to the independent film industry and it is only fair that if they allow other views, why would this film be any different? We are truly heartbroken that The Plaza faced so many threats and attacks by everyone who first tried to shut down our event.”
The documentary will play Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. at The Plaza Theatre.