Brooklyn music venue Market Hotel has canceled a sold out concert by John Hinckley Jr. — the man who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and was found not guilty by reason of insanity — out of safety concerns.
“If we were going to host an event for the principle, and potentially put others at risk in doing so, it shouldn’t be for some stunt booking — no offense to the artist,” Market Hotel, which is located in Bushwick, said in a long statement posted to Instagram on Wednesday. “We might feel differently if we believed the music was important and transcended the infamy, but that’s just not the case here (though any artist can get there — even someone who committed awful crimes and suffered mental illness).”
The announcement came on the same day that Hinckley, 67, was officially given an “unconditional release” from all court restrictions. Earlier in the day on Wednesday, he tweeted, “After 41 years 2 months and 15 days, FREEDOM AT LAST!!!”
In 1981, Hinckley claimed that he attempted to assassinate the president because he wanted to impress actor Jodie Foster after watching the movie Taxi Driver. He fired six shots as Reagan left the Washington Hilton hotel on March 31st, 1981, hitting the former president, Secret Service agent Timothy J. McCarthy, police officer Thomas K. Delahanty and White House press secretary James S. Brady. (Brady later died of his injuries in 2014, which was ruled a homicide.)
Hinckley then spent 30 years in a psychiatric facility. He was released under restrictions in 2016 and has been living in Virginia since then. As of 2020, he has been allowed to display his artwork publicly, which includes original music on his YouTube channel, which has almost 29,000 subscribers.
The show at Market Hotel was supposed to take place on July 8th as part of what Hinckley calls his “Redemption Tour,” during which he will play his songs for the first time live and promote rehabilitation for formerly incarcerated criminals and the mentally ill.
On Wednesday, Market Hotel wrote on Instagram that they approved the show, which had been booked by a third-party promoter, because they believe the tour “sends a message that mental health issues and a criminal past can be recovered from and atoned for, after serving one’s debt to society and getting real treatment.” They also support “hosting provocative happenings for its own sake,” and added that “it’s worth reiterating that this guy performing harms no one in any practical way. This is a sexagenarian with an acoustic guitar.”
However, the risks of promoting a show by someone whose notoriety rests solely on a violent past, and “seeing the nature of who this booking has antagonized,” led the venue to cancel.
“It is not worth the gamble on the safety of our vulnerable communities to give a guy a microphone and a paycheck from his art who hasn’t had to earn it, who we don’t care about on an artistic level, and who upsets people in a dangerously radicalized, reactionary climate,” they wrote.
You can see Market Hotel’s full statement below.
Source : https://gothamist.com/arts-entertainment/market-hotel-cancels-sold-out-john-hinckley-jr-concert-over-safety-concerns