By Scott Strasser, March 28 2017 —
The show must go on — or at least that’s the attitude of the organization that was set to sponsor a recent cancelled film screening at the University of Calgary following an onslaught of backlash and media attention.
A March 8 screening of The Red Pill in That Empty Space was cancelled following a controversial email from the event’s original co-host that went viral.
The Red Pill is a documentary that explores men’s rights activism. Critics say the film — which has already had screenings cancelled in Ottawa and Melbourne, Australia — criticizes feminism and sympathizes with the controversial men’s rights movement.
The Canadian Association for Equality (CAFE) was an original sponsor of the film screening at the U of C. According to CAFE Calgary memberships coordinator Monique Dietvorst, The Red Pill will now be screened on April 4 at the Plaza Theatre in Kensington. Father Rights Alberta will present the film.
“Because of all the publicity over the last couple of days, it was a practical decision on our part that we decided in order to accommodate everybody who wanted to come and view the screening, we needed to make it a bit bigger,” Dietvorst said shortly after the event was cancelled.
The film screening was initially going to be presented by U of C student clubs Wildrose on Campus (WROC) and the University of Calgary Conservatives. WROC dropped out after sending members a promotional email for the event that said “you and I both know feminism is cancer.”
The U of C Conservatives — who originally booked the venue for the film screening — also backed out of the event following WROC’s email.
The email led to widespread backlash from across the political spectrum. Members of the Legislative Assembly from multiple parties condemned the club and the Wildrose Party sent a cease and desist letter telling WROC to stop using their logo.
After the email went viral, former WROC president Jenn Galandy and former communications director Anika Burmeister both spoke out about the “incredibly misogynistic” environment of the club.
“I am not surprised or shocked to see the current WROC executive participate in a men’s rights activist event, because that is who these people are,” Galandy wrote in a Facebook post following the incident. “It is my belief that through this ordeal, they are anti-women, anti-feminist, anti-LGBT, anti-everything.”
Multiple WROC executive resigned from the club following the incident.
Dietvorst said she was disappointed the film screening had to be cancelled.
“Our main goal isn’t really that political, we’re just concerned with mens’ and boys’ issues,” she said. “We weren’t expecting the political blowback. It’s unfortunate it had to come to this.”
According to Dietvorst, CAFE still wants to eventually hold another event at the U of C. She said the April 4 screening of The Red Pill is free to attend.
“We plan to have another event at the University of Calgary soon and we are sure that the U of C will give us a legitimate platform soon to air our views,” she said.