John Hinckley Jr.’s planned Brooklyn concert was actually the third stop on his so-called Redemption Tour to cancel, says the singer-songrwriter who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981.
“I’ve had 3 concerts cancelled – Chicago, Connecticut and now Brooklyn,” Hinckley tweeted this afternoon. “The promoter is looking for another venue.”
Concerts at Chicago’s Logan Square Auditorium, which had been planned for July 23, and a New Year’s Eve concert at the Space Ballroom in Hamden, Connecticut, apparently were canceled prior to the announcement by the Brooklyn venue Market Hotel yesterday.
In an email sent by the Market Hotel to ticketholders yesterday, the venue said that Scenic Events NYC, Hinckley’s promoter, was seeking a replacement venue for the concert. “If a new location is secured, you will be contacted via this email address in advance of the date, with the new location information,” the message states. “If the organizers are unable to secure a new venue for the concert, then the purchase price of your ticket(s) will be refunded within 3 days of the scheduled event date.”
On its Twitter page, Scenic Presents describes itself as a “Brooklyn based shadowy organization fighting faux-indie, boring, corporate chain rock shows since the new millennium.”
I’ve had 3 concerts cancelled-Chicago, Connecticut and now Brooklyn. The promoter is looking for another venue.
— John Hinckley (@JohnHinckley20) June 16, 2022
Hinckley was released from court supervision Wednesday 41 years after his attempted assassination in 1981 of Reagan. The long-planned concert at the hip venue in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood was canceled out of safety concerns, the venue operators said yesterday.
Hinckley, a singer-songwriter who has released his music on streaming sites and a YouTube channel, was set to have made his first post-release concert appearance at the Market Hotel venue on July 8. The show, which quickly sold out in recent weeks, was canceled by the venue today for what the proprietors said was, in part, concern “for the safety of our vulnerable communities…”
Though the venue operators defended the initial decision to open the club to Hinckley, noting that the 67-year-old singer-guitarist’s planned concert 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” – ultimately the security risks weren’t worth the gamble.
“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,” the venue said in a statement on its Instagram page. “We might feel differently if we believed the music was important and transcended the infamy, but that’s just not the case here.”
All restrictions on Hinckley’s freedom were lifted today in a move that has been expected since last fall, when U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman said he’d free Hinckley if he remained mentally stable and residing in the Virginia community where he has lived under supervision since 2016.
“After 41 years 2 months and 15 days, FREEDOM AT LAST!!!, ” Hinckley tweeted just after midnight today.
After 41 years 2 months and 15 days, FREEDOM AT LAST!!!
— John Hinckley (@JohnHinckley20) June 15, 2022
Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity after shooting Reagan on March 30, 1981, wounding the president as well as police officer Thomas Delahanty and Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy. More seriously wounded was Reagan’s Press Secretary James Brady, who was permanently disabled and died from his injuries 33 years later. Hinckley would later claim that he carried out the attempted assassination to garner the attention of actress Jodie Foster.
In yesterday’s statement from the Market Hotel, the venue operators say that the event came to the Hotel through “a third-party promoter, and we approved it because it sounded like an interesting gathering and a memorable night. Hosting provocative happenings for its own sake is valid, and should be part of any venue’s reason to exist.
“There was a time when a place could host a thing like this, maybe a little offensive, and the reaction would be ‘it’s just a guy playing a show, who does it hurt — it’s a free country.’ We aren’t living in that kind of free country anymore, for better or for worse.”
Here is the venue’s full statement:
After a lot of serious consideration, we are canceling the scheduled event at Market Hotel with John Hinckley.
This even came to Market Hotel through a third-party promoter, and we approved it because it sounded like an interesting gathering and a memorable night. Hosting provocative happenings for its own sake is valid, and should be part of any venue’s reason to exist. The tour also 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.
There was a time when a place could host a thing like this, maybe a little offensive, and the reaction would be “it’s just a guy playing a show, who does it hurt — it’s a free country.” We aren’t living in that kind of free country anymore, for better or for worse.
It’s worth reiterating that this guy performing harms no one in any practical way. This is a sexagenarian with an acoustic guitar. All the outrage and concern are entirely about the quote message it sends unquote. Make no mistake: canceling this concert will not deter future assassins and will have no effect on mass shootings, and it certainly won’t reverse the awfulness of what Hinckley did 40 years ago. It’s also ludicrous to claim allowing the show might inspire some future killer — “I wanna be like Hinckley — he got to play Market Hotel.” We’re a little room and it’s just a concert. It does not “matter” — beyond the strong emotions it has been used to stoke.
We do believe that ex-cons and people will mental illness can recover, and that we should want them to maintain hope that they can better themselves and earn a chance to fully rejoin society… but we are living in dangerous times, and after being presented with and reflecting on some very real and worsening threats and hate facing our vulnerable communities — our family here in nightlife — and after seeing the nature of who this booking has antagonized, and who and what else those same folks are upset about: we don’t see the need to allow someone who did something awful to skip the line and play even our middle size independent community stage — and in doing so put our vulnerable communities at risk (without their consent) — especially if that artist wouldn’t have sold the tickets without the story of who they are and the violent thing they did.
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. 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).
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.
– love, MARKET HOTEL
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