A screening of the pro-life film Unplanned has been cancelled after the manager was threatened. Police are also investigating reported death threats received by multiple theater owners.
Unplanned tells the story of former abortion facility manager at Planned Parenthood Abby Johnson as she converts to a pro-life advocate. The movie was written, produced and directed by Cary Solomon and Chuck Konzelman.
According to LifeSiteNews, B.J. McKelvie, the president of Cinedicon, the Canadian distributor for Unplanned, reported that two Canadian independent theater owners received death threats they perceived as credible. He noted they are “fearful for their families.”
McKelvie also reported that one owner “has been harassed to the extreme.”
He did not reveal any of the theaters or their locations indicating “it’s a police matter.”
However, he did indicate that one of the theaters cancelled their screening of the film but most theaters “are holding their ground.”
While McKelvie did not provide details on which theaters were cancelling their showings, Kelowna Capital News reports Salmar Community Association board member Chris Papworth told them they would no longer be showing the film at the Salmar Classic. The film was scheduled to have a five-day run beginning on July 12th. The film’s showing at the Salmar Classic was organized by the Shuswap Pro-Life Society.
Papworth told Kelowna Capital News why they decided to pull the film:
“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.
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.”
“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? 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.”
Shuswap Pro-Life Society spokesperson Hildegard Krieg reacted to the decision to cancel the showings.
“If they had just come out to picket while the movie is running, I could accept that. 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.”
Unplanned director Chuck Konzelman told LifeSiteNews that they have removed the theaters showing the film on July 12th in Canadian theaters from their website. The list included 46 Canadian theaters. The decision to remove the listing was reportedly done as a safety measure.
McKelvie did comment on the irony of the reported death threats, “It’s just a movie. The topic is certainly a hot topic. However, it is just a movie. I find it ironic, they talk about choice, pro-choice, pro-choice, pro-choice, but they’re not giving people a choice to go see the movie.”
This isn’t the first complication the Unplanned movie has faced. Twitter suspended the film’s account back in March right as the film was released into theaters.
They also faced difficulty promoting the film as a number of networks including Lifetime, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, USA Network, Food Network, The Travel Channel, and others rejected television commercials for the movie.