D.C. Theater Backs Out of Hosting Phelim McAleer's FBI Play Over "Threats of Violence"
The conservative journalist-turned filmmaker set the performance of 'FBI Lovebirds: Undercovers' in mid-June at the Mead Theatre in Washington and was intending to film it before a live audience of 218 people.
Seven days after it was announced that a stage play about two FBI agents making disparaging remarks about President Donald Trump was in the works, the theater set to host the production canceled, citing “threats of violence.”
The play is dubbed FBI Lovebirds: Undercovers and is based on verbatim texts between FBI lawyer Lisa Page and former agent Peter Strzok. Example: “He’s not going to become president, right, Right?!” Page texted in reference to Trump. “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Strzok replied.
Conservative journalist-turned filmmaker Phelim McAleer scheduled the performance, starring Dean Cain and Kristy Swanson, in mid-June at the Mead Theatre in Washington and was intending to film it before a live audience of 218 people and release the production digitally.
In an email obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, a representative of Studio Theatre, a group of four venues that includes the Mead, acknowledged accepting a 25 percent deposit from McAleer but says it will nonetheless be canceling the performance.
“Media reports have made us aware of undisclosed details about the event and Studio has become aware of the threats of violence made surrounding it which raise legitimate safety and security concerns,” reads the email.
THR reached out to a Studio representative to determine the nature of the threat, the steps it took before deeming it serious and whether it was made known to authorities, but the rep was unavailable for comment. Theatre Planners, a firm that helped book the venue, referred all questions to McAleer.
Studio's mention of “media reports” appear to indicate that the threats come from a Twitter user who tweeted: “lock the doors, and set the theater on fire.” Swanson, who plays Page in the production, forwarded the tweet to Twitter and it has since been deleted. McAleer tells THR that the single tweet, retweeted a few times before it was deleted, is the only threat he is aware of.
“This is censorship of facts that they want to keep hidden from the American people,” said McAleer, “and they are hiding behind ‘safety concerns’ in order to squash diversity of opinions in the theater.”
Page and Strzok testified about their anti-Trump texts in private before House members last year and details of their testimony were recently released, hence McAleer will draw on them, along with their word-for-word texts, for his production.
In an email to the producers, a Studio representative wrote: "We have an institutional responsibility to protect the safety of our staff, patrons, rental guests, and community. In the best interests of all involved, we must ask that you find another venue for your event."
McAleer says he’ll be doing just that.
“The people who run the Studio-Mead Theatre are hypocrites and they are cowards, scared of a play that tells the truth and might challenge their cozy bubble,” he said. “We will get a venue. The staged reading will go ahead. It will be filmed and released online and everyone will get to see the truth about how the upper echelons of the FBI tried to subvert democracy.”