Thursday, May 30, 2019


Phelim McAleer, an Irish documentary film maker who was one of the producers of the anti-abortion docudrama Gosnell: The Trial of America's Biggest Serial Killer, has a new project in the works -- but it's suffered a setback:
The Washington D.C. theater originally set to host a one-night-only performance of Phelim McAleer’s FBI Lovebirds: Undercovers, starring Dean Cain and Kristy Swanson, has canceled the production due to “threats of violence.” ...

FBI Lovebirds is based on the anti-Trump text messages — to be read verbatim by the cast — of FBI attorney Lisa Page and former FBI agent Peter Strzok. Earlier this month, McAleer announced that the production starring the two politically conservative actors would be performed at the Mead on June 13, and then shown on YouTube.

After the announcement of the crowd-funded project, Swanson retweeted what she called a tweeted death threat that read, at least in part, “Have the Capitol Steps open, lock the doors, and set the theater on fire.” The threat was subsequently quoted by McAleer in a fundraising letter in which he called theater “the most leftist of all the arts.”
The death threat seems real, if not particularly plausible. It's from a legitimate-seeming lefty account called @sponson.

I have to condemn @sponson -- I don't approve of even flippant death threats. But the threat also was a bonanza for McAleer, who immediately began using it for fundraising purposes:
A day after pro-Trump actors Kristy Swanson and Dean Cain retweeted what Swanson described as a “death threat” over their involvement in writer-producer Phelim McAleer’s planned performance piece FBI Lovebirds: UnderCovers, McAleer is using the tweets for fundraising.

Calling theater “the most leftist of all the arts,” McAleer writes in his fundraising pitch today: “It is shocking! They claim to love the arts and the Hollywood left is always giving awards congratulating themselves about how brave they are, but no one from the left or Hollywood has condemned this death threat to artists and their audience – just for telling the truth.” ...

McLeer’s Indiegogo page today reports that the project has raised $13,285, from 172 backers, 13% of its $95,000 fixed goal with 27 days left to go.
(The account is now up to $46,894, nearly half of the goal.)

The statement from the theater in question cites not only the threat of violence but other unnamed "details" about the production:
... In an email obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, a representative of Studio Theatre, a group of four venues that includes the Mead, acknowledged accepting a 25 percent deposit from McAleer but says it will nonetheless be canceling the performance.

“Media reports have made us aware of undisclosed details about the event and Studio has become aware of the threats of violence made surrounding it which raise legitimate safety and security concerns,” reads the email.
What are these "undisclosed details about the event" that were reported in the media? Maybe this, from Politico?
The same documentary filmmakers who convinced the White House to host a recent screening of an anti-abortion movie have planned a live stage reading next month based on thousands of anti-Trump text messages....

And they’re hoping President Donald Trump will attend.

“We’re lobbying the White House hard,” said a person directly involved with the production. “We are being told the president loves the idea of exposing this.”
Imagine you're a tiny theater in a liberal city. You've rented out one of your stages for a night to a group of right-wingers hoping to do a tendentious play. But now suddenly you read that the president of the United States might show up. The Secret Service will need to run roughshod over your venue and it's going to be known in the future as a site of MAGA propaganda.

I'd want to cancel, too.

Meanwhile, this is great publicity for McAleer and his crew. A story posted at a few hours ago notes that Swanson was on Fox & Friends this morning. If you talk to your right-wing relatives this weekend, I'm sure they'll know all about this.

On the right, victimization is always good business.

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