Theater operators of the Patio Theater called off the planned event with alt-right personality Milo Yiannopoulous – writing in a Wednesday announcement that they’re “heard the voices” of explosive backlash against the booking.
“While Patio Theater prides itself on being one of the few truly independent venues in Chicago, the views and opinions of the performers do not necessarily reflect the views of this organization,” the announcement read. “Patio Theater is committed to promoting and supporting diversity and culture, but spares no expense to ensure the safety of our staff, patrons and community at large.”
Former editor of Breitbart, Yiannopoulos came forth with the “Gamergate” campaign targeting female technology bloggers, grew into a leading voice for the “alt-right” white nationalist movement before the 2016 presidential election.
The Nov. 13 event would have been Yiannopoulos’s first public appearance in the city since May 2016, when student protesters shut down his talk at DePaul University.
Charlie Burns, Theater operator, had called the booking a “nonpolitical decision,” adding that his staff would “take proper security precautions to make sure the tour, fans and any protesters are safe and respected during the event.”
But word of the booking got around the city pretty fast and ignited hundreds of people to sign up for a protest within hours. Activists lit into the theater on social media, left negative reviews on Facebook and Yelp and encouraged one another to call the theater directly.
Kansas City, Directors of the Folly Theater in another planned stop on Yiannopoulos’s “Troll Academy” book tour, announced Friday that it had canceled its Nov. 5 show, saying they were “concerned about the safety and security of our employees and patrons.”