Controversial show at Patio Theater canceled following storm of controversy on social media





by BRIAN NADIG

A Patio Theater show featuring controversial alt-right writer Milo Yiannopoulos has been canceled after intense social media debates about what some claim is his hatred ideology, while others say liberals are trying to halt free speech for those who disagree with them.

Theater management released the following statement on Oct. 18:

“We have heard the voices of our patrons and neighbors and have canceled the Milo Yiannopoulos show previously scheduled at the Patio Theater. While Patio Theater prides itself on being one of the few truly independent venues in Chicago, the view and opinions of the performers do not necessarily reflect the views of this organization.

“We are a multicultural, non-political entity providing entertainment to a multitude of audiences and work with independent producers in an effort to grow each other’s businesses. We have been an incubator for the entertainment industry for many years.

“Patio Theater is committed to promoting and supporting diversity and culture, but spares no expense to ensure the safety of our staff, patrons and community at large.”

On the Patio’s Facebook page, one commentator said that the theater management did “the right thing” by canceling the show and that he looked forward to “continuing my patronage of this historic neighborhood venue for many years to come.”

Another commentator said that the theater was “pandering to the few” and did not value free speech. “You’ll most likely lose business because of this,” he said.

Yiannopoulos founded Milo Inc., a media organization whose Web site states that the company focuses on “big picture issues like free speech on campus, the evils of Islam and the defense of Western values.”

Yiannopoulos resigned from his position at Breitbart news after a video was released in which he suggested that sexual relationships between young teens and older adults could be consensual. He later said that his comments were his way of dealing with himself being a victim of sexual abuse as a child.

Yiannopoulos, who is openly, has been a critic of gay rights.

Earlier this year a show on pedophilia at the Chicago Fringe Festival in Jefferson Park sparked a similar debate on social media about free speech.

Yiannopoulos’ show had been scheduled for Nov. 13 at the Patio, 6008 W. Irving Park Road. Show producers have not announced if the show will be relocated to another venue in the Chicago area.