Anti-abortion film screening cancelled after B.C. theatre receives threats

Shuswap Pro-Life Society supports decision, will pursue private screening of movie Unplanned

Threats made against Salmar Theatres staff have led to a decision not to show the controversial anti-abortion film Unplanned.

Salmar Community Association board member Chris Papworth confirmed Thursday, July 4, that the board has agreed to pull the movie’s five-day run, set to begin on July 12 at the Salmar Classic. He said the difficult decision to cancel the film was made out of concern for the personal safety for Salmar Theatres management, who had received personal threats via social media.

“We have a track record of showing things from a variety of points of view… we try not to preclude things because of whatever personal opinions may exist on our board or something like that,” explained Papworth, adding it is not unusual for people to complain about something showing at the Salmar Classic or Grand. “What’s different here… certainly in the past, there hasn’t been an effort to dox employees or, specifically, the general manager, by releasing their personal information on social media and then encouraging people to go after them as the one responsible for some heinous act.

“We just aren’t prepared for those levels of hostility towards our general manager.”

Papworth said management has been encouraged to forward any threats made online to the RCMP.

The showing of Unplanned, a PG-rated movie from a Canadian distributor, had been organized with support from members of the Shuswap Pro-Life Society. Speaking for the society, Hildegard Krieg said they are disappointed by the cancellation, but respect the Salmar’s decision.

Read more: Controversial anti-abortion film ‘Unplanned’ to hit more than 24 Canadian theatres

Read more: ‘No appetite’ to ban abortions in Canada amid U.S. bills, expert says

Read more: Salmon Arm mother upset after angry movie mob vents on 15-year-old daughter

Read more: Trump tells anti-abortion activists to stay united for 2020

“If they had just come out to picket while the movie is running, I could accept that,” said Krieg. “But I cannot accept that they should actually threaten somebody with violence personally and the family. That is absolutely uncalled for. A peaceful picket, OK, we walk through the picket line. But that is going too far.”

Papworth is also uncomfortable with the precedent cancelling the film sets, but prioritizes the safety of Salmar employees.

“Is it OK now on any given hot button issue to contact the manager on a personal level, let’s just harass her until she capitulates to our demands?” said Papworth. “We don’t like the precedence, but at the same time, we’re not willing to put our manager, who we value greatly, at any kind of personal risk in our community.”

Papworth says there’s still the option for Unplanned to be shown privately at the Classic.

“They would then rent the classic and bring it in as a private viewing,” said Papworth. “That would be up to them. And we wouldn’t discourage anybody from renting the Classic and showing a film, whatever they happen to choose to show.”

Krieg said this is what the Shuswap Pro-Life Society would likely do at a later date.

Unplanned stars Ashley Bratcher as a Planned Parenthood clinic director who becomes an anti-abortion speaker after “the day she saw something that changed everything.” The film, based on a book of the same name by anti-abortion activist Abby Johnson, is set to play in more than 24 movie houses across Canada beginning July 12.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Former Chilliwack mayor and MLA speaks at UFV

John Jansen makes presentation at Abbotsford campus on Tuesday, Jan. 21

Doxa Band performs at free worship event in Abbotsford

Program takes place Sunday, Jan. 26 at Central Heights Church

Alzheimer Society holds open house in Abbotsford

Event on Jan. 29 at Garden Park Tower is part of awareness month

Tougher burning rules considered by Abbotsford council

Staff suggest limiting open air burning to just two months

VIDEO: Highway 1 to look like winter war zone until owners retrieve wrecked vehicles

Tow-truck driver says 30 vehicles still dot snowy landscape, including one rolled-over dairy truck

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in lingerie store

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

Vancouver police probe second homicide in less than 24 hours

Woman was found dead in her Gastown home

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Vancouver police investigate after man found dead in vehicle

Man has not been identified and no one has been arrested

Most Read