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Tuesday 12 December 2023

Politics and the Arts do not mix

No doubt you will have read about the controversy at the STC following an unauthorized protest by some actors at the end of a play. At the encore three of the five actors displayed their support for Palestine by wearing keffiyehs. 

The STC management reacted poorly and was slow to distance itself from the protest, trying to tread a fine line between the actors and patrons of the theatre, many of whom are Jewish. The ensuing furore has led to the resignation of 3 directors of the STC and indeed the abandonment of the STC by many influential patrons. 

One patron, Daniel Greenberg has penned a damning letter to the STC explaining his own position. This letter has been widely publicized.(see  Read the damning letter sent to the Sydney Theatre Company that reveals the Jewish community's outraged response to 'sickening protest')

I include his letter to illustrate the depth of feeling of Jewish patrons. You will not get this from MSM as they seem more biased towards the virtue-signaling left.

The actors have dug their heels in. They plan further such protests and have convinced a large number of fellow artists to join their stand. This is still ongoing and we don't know where it will all land. However, given the many high-profile patrons have walked, it is possible the STC will not survive.

What is the morality behind these issues? In some ways it is difficult. There is the issue of free speech. We do want a society where speech is not censored even when it is obnoxious. But of course, many consequences fall short of censorship. 

The Left taught us over the past few years how 'cancellation' can work to limit free speech. They have not targeted the person whose speech they did not like but have approached his customers, employer, colleagues and even professional associations. It has been very effective. We have seen the many 'hostage videos' by hapless victims apologising profusely, but unbelievably, for violating some PC edict. This has of course meant that many others have self-censored. Thus cancel culture keeps the herd on a tight leash. 

Well, I guess that can be our weapon too. The actors may exercise their free speech. They can air their views, but the patrons, the audience, and the directors of the STC are free to exercise their option to withdraw from supporting these actors' performances and the theatres that employ them. 

I stand with the patrons and will not attend plays that feature these actors and will boycott the STC until they have taken adequate measures to redress their failure to distance themselves from the actors.

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