Canadian cinema chain screens pro-life film despite threats

The CEO of Canadian cinema chain Cineplex has defended his decision to screen the pro-life film Unplanned in the face of violent threats from abortion activists.

The film tells the true story of Abby Johnson, a Planned Parenthood clinic director who has a change of heart after seeing the reality of abortion.

But protestors branded it “anti-abortion propaganda” and accused the cinema chain of “publicly legitimising anti-choice views”.

Freedom of expression

Cineplex CEO Ellis Jacob said he was “confident” it was the right decision to give the film a limited release in 14 cinemas for a one-week run.

He said: “Canada is a country that believes in and rallies behind freedom of expression, but that isn’t always an easy thing to do and it certainly doesn’t always make you popular.

“In this instance many of us will have to set aside our own personal beliefs and remember that living in a country that censors content, opinions and points of view because they are different from our own is not a country that any of us would want to live in.”

Death threats

Two independent cinemas which wanted to show the film ultimately pulled the screening following “serious threats” from activists.

President of Canadian film distributor Cinedicom, B J McKelvie, said the cinemas had intended to screen it in spite of the negative publicity, but “things took a turn”.

“There started to be more serious threats towards managers and the families of theatre owners. There were two that were death threats.”

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