A New York City off-Broadway theater kicked a pro-life production about Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell to the curb just a few weeks before the play’s opening on May 5.
“These people say they’re all for artistic freedom and say they want alternative points of view but they want to shut us down,” playwright Phelim McAleer told The Federalist.
“Oh Gosnell: The Truth About Abortion” is a verbatim theatre-styled play that documents Gosnell’s criminal trial where he was convicted of murdering infants. McAleer said he created the production to keep “fighting back against Big Hollywood’s lies and half-truths about abortion.”
The production was scheduled to premiere at the same time as another off-Broadway show “Oh God, A Show About Abortion,” a comedy from Hollywood producers JJ Abrams and Ilana Glazer that makes light of killing unborn babies.
Theatre Row had contractually agreed to host McAleer’s play and even took payment for the rental but decided to drop his latest project after deeming “Oh Gosnell” “inappropriate for children.”
Theatre Row has a history of hosting raunchy and violent productions that are classified as unsuitable for certain ages. Even now, the theater is selling tickets to “Hitler’s Tasters” which “explores the way girls navigate sexuality” and runs through the end of May.
Despite the fact that Theatre Row is clearly comfortable showcasing productions geared towards adults and did not include a caveat about inappropriate content in the contract, the venue’s attorney claimed in a letter that Theatre Row is “concerned for the safety of our staff and our neighbors.” The letter also demanded McAleer’s media nonprofit The Unreported Story Society (USS) not contact anyone associated with the theater or visit the premises.
“Safety is just the new shut up,” McAleer said. “They use safety as a kind of a hecklers’ veto. And they use it as a cover to censor opinions they don’t want, that they don’t like.”
USS responded with a letter slamming the venue for spiking the pro-life play.
“You are not standing up for the arts. You are not standing up for diversity of thought. You are
not standing up for free speech. Even worse, to excuse the inexcusable, you falsely and
maliciously accuse USS of fraud by making fraudulent statements,” the letter stated.
As noted by USS, Theatre Row brags about being a “lively, accessible venue for diverse audiences” but McAleer said the venue’s penchant for artistic censorship suggests otherwise.
“Why wouldn’t they want an alternative point of view? Isn’t that their mission statement?” he said. “They always say they want alternative points of view until they realize people actually hold real alternative points of view.”
McAleer also said that Kickstarter refused to allow the production to fundraise on its platform because, in his words, “making the Gosnell movie would offend their community standards.”
Despite efforts to stifle “Oh Gosnell,” the play is still scheduled to debut on May 5 at Chain Studio Theater in New York City.
“Oh Gosnell” is not the first time McAleer has faced backlash for his artistic work. One Washington, D.C. theater nuked his play “FBI Lovebirds: UnderCovers” about Peter Strzok and Lisa Page’s secret text messages mere weeks before opening night. Multiple actors also walked out of rehearsals for “Ferguson: The Play” because “the truth didn’t match what CNN had told them.”