The anti-abortion film, Unplanned, was basically blacklisted from theater chains in Canada. The film was denied viewings in Canada by provincial distributors, who refused to air the film due to its “content”. Well, after some struggles, the film did get rated and Cineplex made a recent public statement denouncing censorship while declaring that they would be running Unplanned at 14 of their 1,700 theaters across Canada starting on Friday, July 12th.
The statement from Cineplex was published on July 8th, 2019, where the Cineplex CEO, Ellis Jacob, penned an open letter explaining the company’s decision to screen the film.
An open letter from Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob, on our decision to screen Unplanned. pic.twitter.com/bkA7tx2NWt
— Cineplex (@CineplexMovies) July 8, 2019
If you don’t have eyes for ants and can’t read the message in the image, it states…
“Over the past few weeks, we have received many phone calls and emails from Canadians on both sides of the conversation about the film Unplanned. I want to thank everyone who has reached out for sharing their feedback with my team as well as take a moment to personally address our decision to move forward with a limited run of the film at our theatres.
“I have been working in this business for well over 30 years and controversial films on the big screen are not new to me, to Cineplex or to the industry as a whole. That said, the decision to move forward with screenings of this particular film was a complicated one and it was not made easily or lightly. But as leader of Canada’s largest film exhibition company, I am confident that it was the right decision for us, for you and for our country.
“When I immigrated to Canada back in 1969, one of the things that I loved, and still love, the most about living here was that we don’t shy away from our differences, we embrace them. Canada is a country that believes in and rallies behind freedom of expression, but that isn’t always an easy thing to do and it certainly doesn’t always make you popular. In this instance many of us will have to set aside our own personal beliefs and remember that living in a country that censors content, opinions and points of view because they are different from our own is not a country that any of us would want to live in.
“The responsibility of determining whether content is appropriate for movie audiences and the audiences’ age parameters falls to provincial and territorial governments, through the film classification boards. Unplanned has been reviewed and rated by those boards, so Cineplex will be screening it at 14 out of our network of 1,700 auditoriums across Canada for a one week run beginning on Friday.
“I understand and can appreciate the concerns about the film, but it is up to each of us to decide whether or not we want to see it. In Canada, we have that option and I think it is an important think to remember.
“Again, I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me and my colleagues. I appreciate you taking the time to read this.”
The blacklisting of Unplanned at Canadian theaters came after Twitter attempted to unsuccessfully stifle the movie’s social media account, which actually did nothing more than raise awareness and get more people talking about big tech’s attempt to censor the anti-abortion flick.
But Cineplex’s commitment to showing Unplanned in Canada, albeit limited, is actually quite a bold move given that after the film had been approved for showing, death threats began popping up at independent theaters who chose to screen the flick.
According to Catholic Philly, two independent theaters ended up canceling the screenings after receiving credible death threats. B.J. McKelvie, the president of Cinedicom and one of the distributors of Unplanned in Canada, told the Catholic Philly…
“They were originally going to (screen it) and were able to endure a lot of negative publicity. They got a lot of positive support as well.
“Then things took a turn. There started to be more serious threats towards managers and the families of theater owners. “There were two that were death threats […]”
But it wasn’t just small theater chains receiving death threats, either. According to The Post Millennial, theater staff at the Salmar Community Association received threats and doxing attempts on July 4th, 2019.
Salmar Community Association board member Chris Papworth told The Post Millennial…
“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. 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.”
This is all part of the Left’s modus operandi for dealing with viewpoints they don’t even want other people to know about or share.
As noted on the Cineplex tweet, there are people claiming that Unplanned is “American propaganda” and that the widespread distribution ban on the film is not censorship.
You missed the point, Cineplex. We, and yes I mean Canadian women, do not want America propaganda in Canada. Abortion is a medical procedure in Canada and NOT AN ISSUE THAT needs to be addressed. I will be spending my $’s elsewhere.
— Vicky (@AB_Parent2) July 8, 2019
Dear @CineplexMovies, it isn’t about censorship, but propaganda. The film is a harmful and inaccurate representation of a critical women’s health issue.
— Alex Collins (@AlexNCollins) July 9, 2019
You have a fundamental misunderstanding what freedom of expression guarantees – freedom from gov’t interference. It does not mean freedom from any consumer consequences due to a business decision to screen a movie that argues for a lessen of women’s human rights.
— Kerri Froc (@KerriFroc) July 8, 2019
Everyone demanding freedom of speech in order to take away freedom from women and control our uterus. Women’s body parts still under threat from religious zealotry
— Tracey Kent 🐕 🏳️🌈 (@TraceyKent) July 8, 2019
Thankfully, not everyone on the tweet chain were pro-censorship. There were still a few people who understood that once you start using censorship to suppress art, it doesn’t stop there and will eventually hit something you enjoy, which is exactly what’s happening with YouTube and its censorship.
I’m pro-choice but the idea of blocking this movie from being shown in Canada smacks of censorship.
I applaud @CineplexMovies for giving Canadians the opportunity to make our own decisions. Because isn’t that what choice is all about?
— 🇨🇦Candace Smith (@britjpncdn) July 8, 2019
So far Cineplex is still holding firm to showing the film at their theaters in a limited capacity, while other independent chains are canceling their airings due to death threats. We’ll see if Cineplex can hold out until July 12th, where the film will run for a week in theaters.
(Thanks for the news tip MaverickHL)