Published Sep 20, 2017A group of comedians in Victoria, BC, has received some serious backlash over selling tickets to an upcoming screening at "justice pricing," all in efforts to highlight economic disparity. In fact, it's got so bad that they have even received death threats.
Organizers for the Victoria premiere of the comedy series Building the Room implemented a pricing system that meant "general admission price of $10 (would) be doubled to $20 for all white cisgender males."
However, the backlash was fast and furious. It included everything from questioning whether or not it was a publicity stunt, to filing human rights complaints, to full-on death threats.
"[The threats] are a serious matter that will be taken up with the police if they continue," spokesperson Sid Mohammed said [via Victoria Buzz], adding that the pricing was "not a joke."
"First of all, no this was never intended to be some kind of attack on white men," Mohammed said. "It was never intended to be a settling of scores. The simple intent of Justice Pricing is to meet people at their economic level, using very broad strokes."
Mohammed added, "White men are the highest earning group in Canada, and as a result we are trying to meet them at their level in order to make the event more affordable for those other groups who don't have the same purchasing power."
In response to the backlash, organizers have now lowered the admission price for white males to $15, further announcing that profits from door sales will be donated to the Native Friendship Centre of Victoria and the Victoria Pride Society.
"In reaction to a considerable amount of public outrage, as well as some support, we have decided to adapt the pricing scheme for the screening," Mohammed wrote in a statement released Tuesday (September 19). "It has been brought to our attention that this model of price discrimination should be adapted to avoid offending a large swath of the public."
The statement added, "We have lowered the price for White Cis-Straight Able-Bodied Males to $15. Everyone else will pay a discounted price of $10."
In another statement, Building the Room's director Shiraz Higgins said, "The death threats need to stop. That kind of behaviour doesn't solve any problems. The cast, crew and venue have nothing to do with the pricing of the event.... Justice Pricing does not reflect the views or desires of anyone else involved in this project. So please leave them alone."
Building the Room will have its premiere at Victoria's Roxy Theatre on September 28. The series features several local comedians and aims to showcase "the trials and tribulations of putting on a stand up comedy show."