EXCLUSIVE: Jordan Peterson film cancelled in Canadian movie theatre
Nobody becomes a prophet in his own country. Although he is probably one of the most famous living Canadians, Jordan Peterson is still being protested and cancelled on his home turf, proving not only the relevance of this Biblical reference but that cancel culture is showing no signs of abating. The latest victim in this sad saga of censorship is The Rise of Jordan Peterson, the feature-length film by Patricia Marcoccia. The film has been removed from its scheduled, week-long run at the Carlton Cinema in Toronto after “one or more” staff complained. The Post Millennial reached out to the Carlton Cinema, and the manager on duty confirmed that there was disagreement among the staff over the film. Marcoccia, who directed the movie, said in an email that her company, Holding Space Films, has also experienced reluctance and rejections from independent film houses and cinemas across the country.
“Over the last few months we have been reaching out to mainstream and arthouse cinemas across North America. In many cases, we encountered challenges simply because of the subject matter being Jordan Peterson. Some cinemas got stuck in internal debates. Others told us outright that they thought the film was well done and fair, but that they couldn’t, in good conscience, contribute to the ‘cult of personality around Peterson’ in any way,” Marcoccia said.
“The most disappointing case for me was the cancellation of a week-long theatrical run that was already agreed upon at Carlton Cinema in Toronto, because apparently one or more staff complained about the film even though they most likely hadn’t watched it.”
The film, which is the follow-up to the shorter and aptly named Shut Him Down, released last year on CBC, documents the past three years of Jordan Peterson’s life. His rapid rise to fame, emerging first as the “professor against political correctness,” arguing his opposition to compelled speech as Canada wanted to legislate for the forced use of trans people’s preferred pronouns. He then gained even more followers after the mainstream media tried to manipulate his views in the Cathy Newman interview on Channel 4. He finally became a household name across the world with his book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos after many years as a relatively anonymous psychology professor, surely this deserves a closer look?
“It’s disappointing on many levels. This film was made with different perspectives in mind and there’s something in it for everyone—even if you’re not a Jordan Peterson fan,” Marcoccia told me. “The issues he raised and his presence in public discourse had a huge impact on society at large; that is undeniable. So for a film about him and about this high profile period to be dismissed because of fear or so-called moral principle, as though the very presence of a documentary covering it is problematic, is backwards in a free and progressive society. It also ironically supports Jordan’s criticisms about the dangers of social justice taking things too far.”
Marcoccia added that she’s not interested in participating in any political campaign with this film, and that some organisations that are right-leaning have also rejected showing it, “presumably because after watching they saw that it wasn’t a film that could easily be used as a political propaganda tool.”
This isn’t the first time social justice warriors try to shut Peterson down, of course. In March, his offer of a fellowship at the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University was rescinded, after a photo of Peterson with a fan wearing an ironic “I’m a proud Islamaphobe (sic)” t-shirt had emerged. The rescindment placed Cambridge firmly outside its proud tradition of open enquiry and free speech. Two days later, Whitcoulls, a bookstore in New Zealand pulled their copies of 12 Rules for Life, linking it to the Christchurch massacre, whilst still selling copies of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. These developments were only natural, perhaps, after what Peterson has experienced in the last few years: being booed and sabotaged during speeches on college campuses, been described as both a “Jewish shill” and a “globalist,” while also being accused of affiliation with the alt-right. Add to that, the now numerous hit pieces on him that have become so exaggerated that they’re read as satire by some of his fans. Due to all this, you might be forgiven for thinking Peterson is a highly controversial character. A documentary that aims to take sober and nuanced approach surely would be a welcome break from that.
After a relatively quiet few months, you would think that the world had tired of bashing the 57-year-old Canadian grandfather. After all, I would argue that most of us who have bothered reading his book, and who have listened to his lectures and interviews, don’t find him controversial in the least. His empathy for young men as they struggle to find meaning in their lives, his in-depth knowledge of psychology, and fondness for Carl Jung and classic literature—he adores Dostoyevsky—alongside his rejection of post-modernism and its destructive offshoots (such as intersectional feminism), make him a much-loved hero for many, many people—and not just men.
It’s a sad reflection of the times, and also slightly ironic, that filmmakers in a free society like Canada encounter censorship of their film about a thoughtful, well-spoken psychology professor, whose own views on free speech are a thousand times more liberal than those “progressive” activists that protest him. Albeit, this censorship is not pushed by a totalitarian state, but by individuals who have been taught to think words are so dangerous that they need to be shielded from anything that might challenge them a little. This is authoritarian and regressive. It’s not “unsafe” (to use their language) to hear a view that’s outside of your comfort zone. In Peterson’s own words, it may even be of critical importance to hear such views: “In order to think you have to risk being offensive,” Peterson once told Cathy Newman. And in order to understand, you have to expose yourself to thoughts you may disagree with.”
I can’t think of anything more boring than living a life wrapped in cotton wool, protected from the big, bad world around you, never having your views challenged. But then, I also feel sorry for people who refuse to engage with a thinker who could help them not only to widen their horizons, but give them courage to make the most of their potential and take part in the world, properly, as the good doctor would say. One can only hope this kowtowing by the cinemas to the activists will have the opposite effect from what they desire, producing even more interest from the public, and in the end, the film might be viewed by more people than the makers had hoped for. Maybe we can call it the Peterson effect.
Actor Laurence Fox says that “the wokist is a fundamentally racist bunch.” On BBC’s Question Time, he said that the backlash against Meghan Markle was not racist, and called a woman of colour racist for suggesting that his identity means he can’t discern racism.
“The problem we’ve got with this is that Meghan has agreed to be Harry’s wife,” a woman spoke up from the audience, “and the press has torn her to pieces, and let’s be really clear about what this is, let’s call it by its name: it’s racism.”
He decried her view, saying “It’s not racism, we’re the most tolerant lovely country in Europe.”
“Says a white privileged man,” she shot back.
“It’s so easy to throw the charge of racism at everybody,” Fox replied, “and it’s really starting to get boring.”
“What worries me about your comment,” she said, “is you’re a white privileged male.” A round of audience boos rose up.
Fox was clearly annoyed by her comment. “I can’t help what I am, I was born like this,” he said, “it’s an immutable characteristic, so to call me a white privileged male is to be racist. You’re being racist.”
For this, he was skewered in the press and received death threats. Even after “Equity’s minority ethnic members committee… called on fellow actors to ‘unequivocally denounce’ Laurence Fox for comments he made during an appearance on BBC1’s Question Time,” author Shappi Khorsandi spoke against that denunciation.
And Fox wouldn’t back down. Instead, he took to the airwaves with Julia Hartley-Brewer on Talk Radio’s Breakfast Show this morning to expand upon his views.
It was in talking with Hartley-Brewer that he said “I think there’s racism everywhere but I don’t think we’re a systemically racist country. I don’t see a lot of racism, but then I’m a straight white male.” He went on to say that “identity politics is fundamentally racist as well,” because “it’s about silencing opinion,” and “seeing colour everywhere.”
Fox gave voice to what many people have been thinking, that the language of racism and accusations of bias have jumped the shark. Racism had been a charge that could only be levelled by minority racial groups against dominant racial groups. It was a scourge that needed to be rooted out at the highest levels of power to prevent systemic inequity. This project was undertaken by Civil Rights activists, and that work has continued in all of us. As Fox notes, there is still racism.
But the way to fix that racism is not by categorizing everyone into their own little identity boxes and determining what they are allowed to say or think based on the rights and privileges of that identity. The thing to do is to treat everyone like a human being, capable of having their own thoughts and ideas. People must look for the best in one another, not the worst, and not seek out every opportunity to be offended.
Calling someone a privileged white male, said Fox, is a way of “silencing opinion,” saying “you’re not allowed an opinion, mate, you’re white.” Fox has had enough of it, as have so many people.
There are no identity factors that make someone a bad person. Identity factors, such as race, sex, ethnicity, or sexual orientation should not have value judgements associated with them. For one hot minute, we used to know this. The goal was to look at each other and not parse up individuals into their requisite labels, to not use a person’s external characteristics to determine the worth of their ideas or their rights under the law.
That all turned around with concepts like “valuing differences,” wherein we were supposed to look at the ways in which we were different first, dissect and acknowledge those, before seeking for the ways in which we were the same. How much better it is to find kinship with one another first, before sorting all the ways in which we are different.
Fox’s perspective on racism and identity will most likely continue to be discredited because his identity factors are deemed more essential than his actual perspective. His views are taken with large grains of white cis het male privileged salt. But it’s time to start realizing that the brilliant Civil Rights movement, which told us not to judge someone on the basis of their physical characteristics, has been co-opted by haters who would have us do that very same thing. It doesn’t matter who is being boxed by immutable identity factors and judged by them, it matters that it’s being done at all, and it must stop.
Some stories do have happy endings. Yesterday, we reported on journalist David Leavitt’s mean spirited attempt to shame an innocent Target employee over a mislabelled toothbrush. He even went so far as to call the police because the electric toothbrush wasn’t $0.01.
Well, shortly after the viral moment, Twitter user and notorious meme-maker @CarpeDonktum decided to set up a GoFundMe page to give the Target employee, Tori, a much-needed vacation.
Today, we’ve learned that the fundraising endeavour was a massive success, with over $19,500 raised for Tori to take a break and put this nasty incident behind her.
@CarpeDonktum tweeted today: “I have made contact with #TargetTori, she has received authorization to release 2 photos to verify that we are in contact. I need a representative from @gofundme to contact me to arrange the transfer of control of the account to Tori.”
GoFundMe has arranged the transfer of the funds to Tori and now the story is complete. Happy ending achieved!
David Leavitt, an award-winning multimedia journalist who has worked for CBS, AXS, Yahoo, and others just tried to shame a Target employee over a toothbrush.
Leavitt spotted an Oral-B electric toothbrush that was incorrectly labelled at a list price of $0.01.
When Target manager Tori did not honour the “price,” Leavitt thought it would be a good idea to a) call the police, b) tweet a photo of the manager in an attempt to shame her, c) announces his intentions to sue the company.
“I just had to call the police because @target refused to sell me the toothbrush,” he tweeted.
“I have not been able to afford to go to a dentist in over three years. So yes I wanted a good toothbrush and was thrilled to see such an amazing prize on an @OralB but @target refused to honor it and now I have to take them to court,” he said in a follow-up tweet.
Twitter was quick to respond, defending the Target employee, who was clearly just doing her job. “Dude, please take her photo down. In what universe do you think it’s ok to shame a woman working at @Target because she didn’t sell you a toothbrush for 1cent? Calling the cops was bizarre, too. It’s an obvious labelling error, she did her job.” said Sky News’ Rita Panahi
“Leave the girl out of this and take down her picture. You’re a bad person for doing this to her,” Bridget Phetasy added.
Popular Twitter personality Imam of Peace was not impressed, and exposed that Leavitt was lying about not seeing a dentist in three years:
This isn’t Leavitt’s first attempt to shame an employee at a retail store. In December 2018, he pulled a similar stunt by targeting a Wal-Mart Assistant Manager.
It’s also not Leavitt’s first experience being ratioed. In 2017, Leavitt tweeted a truly tasteless joke about the Manchester terrorist bombing that killed 22 people.
This most recent bizarre Twitter outburst has led many to ponder what one Twitter user put quite succinctly: “WTF is wrong with David Leavitt?”
Yet another woke record store has decided to ban British pop icon Morrissey from its shelves. This time, the Glasgow Evening Times reports that Glasgow’s “Monorail Music said it would continue to sell records by the Smiths but ‘like many of our colleagues’ would not be selling the singer’s 13th studio album, ‘I am not a dog on a chain.’”
This follows last year’s indie music store ban on Morrissey’s last album, “California Son.” Cardiff’s Spillers, which calls itself “the oldest record shop in the world,” declined to carry the record in retaliation for Morrissey’s political views. These views include support for Brexit, saying that the word “racist” is meaningless because it’s used so liberally, and that crime in London cannot be properly dealt with if the perpetrators are viewed as victims.
Morrissey responded to the last round of smears and bans by saying, “I straighten up, and my position is one of hope. The march backwards is over, and life has begun again. With voice extended to breaking point, I call for the prosperity of free speech; the eradication of totalitarian control; I call for diversity of opinion; I call for the total abolition of the abattoir; I call for peace, above all; I call for civil society; I call for a so-far unknowable end to brutalities; ‘No’ to Soviet Britain.”
Of course, the bans and smears don’t work. These kinds of actions will not stop Morrissey’s fans from buying the new album. The Guardian has consistently tried to smear Morrissey, and in response, Morrissey wore a t-shirt reading “Fuck The Guardian.” Fans know that Morrissey being able to speak his mind means that they are free to speak theirs, to hold opposing views, and to still listen to the new tracks Morrissey releases with consistent quality year after year.
Bookshops and record stores are not required to carry anything that they don’t wish to, obviously, but there is something sinister in the refusal to carry selections by such a popular, long-standing pop star, whose music on last year’s “California Son” was not political, and who lifts other artists through collaboration, simply because he’s not afraid to speak his mind.
Writer Fiona Dodwell responded to the ridiculous ban by tweeting: “How about businesses stock and store products and let customers choose what they want? This achieves nothing, Morrissey will still sell albums—with or without your company “banning” his records. People simply go elsewhere (and learn where NOT to shop next time!)”
How many pop stars have heterodox views but don’t say them out of fear of retaliation? Probably plenty, they just don’t say it, because they don’t want their work to suffer the same fate of being banned by distributors.
Morrissey has made his entire career out of being an iconoclast who “will not change and will not be nice.” So much the better for his fans, who strive to lead lives according to their own value systems, and not those imposed by a hypocritical society hell-bent on squashing free thought and individuality while claiming to uphold those very qualities they persistently deride.
When the new album drops on March 20, it will be interesting to see which other shops signal their virtue by refusing to carry it, and which ones instead cater to consumers and offer it for sale. Not carrying “I am not a dog on a chain” has more to do with the owner’s false sense of righteousness than punishing Morrissey. Time and time again, Morrissey has shown that he can’t be shelved and forgotten. His work is too essential and beautiful for that.