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Vernon Cineplex draws criticism for screening anti-LGBTQ+ film during Pride Month

Galaxy Cinemas says it is not selling tickets to the public as it is a private screening put on by the Freedom Network
A screening of The War on Children is set to take place at the Vernon Cineplex Saturday morning, June 15, 2024.

The Vernon Cineplex is being censured for hosting a private screening of what critics have called an anti-2SLGBTQIA+ film, in the middle of Pride Month. 

A group called the Freedom Network is holding a screening of the documentary The War on Children at Galaxy Cinemas Vernon at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, June 15.

Kylie Walman, a lawyer with Nixon Wenger in Vernon, a member of Lawyers Against Transphobia and a member of the queer community, told The Morning Star she's concerned about the screening, given that the film has been criticized for being anti-2SLGBTQIA+ and anti-trans "propaganda."

Walman pointed to an article by Rolling Stone magazine, which reported that the filmmakers of The War on Children "used trickery to have members of the LGBTQ community participate in the film and then edited their interviews to make it sound as though they were in favour of children being exposed to sexually explicit material."

Walman said to date, the film has only been aired on X (formerly Twitter), YouTube and "right wing media outlets." 

"Now Cineplex is going to join these outlets?" 

Walman, who has a school-aged child, noted that the Cineplex markets itself as being supportive of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, but argues the screening contradicts that position. 

Walman called on the Cineplex to cancel the screening and denounce the film. 

Michelle Saba, vice president of communications for the Cineplex, told The Morning Star that Saturday's screening is a private one, meaning Cineplex is not selling tickets to the public. However, the Freedom Network is selling tickets for $20. 

"We understand and appreciate the concerns the public have raised about this film. Cineplex has a private rentals business that allows individuals and organizations to rent our auditoriums to run private events," Saba said. 

She added the film has been given a 14-A rating by Consumer Protection B.C. 

Saba said the Cineplex's role as a film exhibitor "is not to censor content, but to provide the public with movie choices and they can decide whether or not to see a film." 

The Morning Star has reached out to the Freedom Network for comment. 


Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started at the Morning Star as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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