It’s common for high-profile political figures to be criticised on social media, but it’s uncommon for them to turn those negative messages into a fundraiser.
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson and Rapid Fire Theatre teamed up to do just that to raise money for the United Way All in for Youth campaign.
On Wednesday night, the mayor was centre stage for the second annual Mean Tweets event at the Citadel Theatre, which borrows the idea from late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel who has made the idea of having public figures read mean tweets about themselves popular.
“What we’ve done is taken some of those mean correspondences that the mayor sees on all kinds of issues and we put them on stage, he reads them out loud, we do improve about them. So making fun out of all that mean-spirited energy,” Rapid Fire Theatre artistic director Matt Schurman said.
WATCH BELOW: Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson took part in a second annual “Mean Tweets” event Wednesday night. It evening was a fundraiser for a local charity.
“There is some really nasty stuff out there. Some of it is very fun too and I guarantee there’s no way there’s enough time in tonight’s show to get through all the stuff that we’ve gathered,” Schurman said.
“It’s surprising what people will say in the veil of internet anonymity.”
Iveson read from a list of four pages of tweets.
“Don Iveson is to Edmonton as John Lithgow is to Footloose,” Iveson read to the crowd.
“I saw a bird poop on my car today and I’m blaming @DonIveson personally.”
“Bus passes are $97. $97! Is Don Iveson on crack. You should be paying me $97 to pay the bus,” the mayor read to a laughing crowd.
The event was sold out, with about 660 seats being filled. The event raised $10,000 for the United Way All in for Youth campaign.
“The All in for Youth goes to benefit youth in inner cities, helping them in their school settings, with completion of school and supplies and all kinds of great resources that help them stick to school,” Schurman said.