A recent documentary on contemporary psychology guru and critic of non-binary identities Jordan Peterson has faced widespread backlash from proponents of political correctness, prompting cancellations of its screening in theatres across Canada and the US. Now, those who are still brave enough to screen the film in their venues are receiving not only complaints, but also threats, according to the documentary's producers Patricia Marcoccia and Maziar Ghaderi, as reported by The Stranger.
"Fair warning", read one of the messages sent to a pastor outside of Portland who agreed to screen The Rise of Jordan Peterson documentary, "several community organisations are planning to shut down your showing of the Jordan Peterson propaganda film. While many of us aren't Christian and some even flat-out condemn the religion, we do not want any harm to come to your place of worship or those within”.
The message was forwarded by the pastor to Maziar Ghaderi, one of the filmmakers, containing warnings that “fascism” would not be tolerated in the city.
“However, we cannot allow fascism to continue to rise and will not tolerate its presence in our city, whether it is on the streets or on the waterfront or in a church. Read some history books, read about eugenics, read about sex and gender and then compare it to Peterson. Pray on it if you must. Do the right thing. As much as we joke about it, we really don't want to have to bring out the guillotine to fix society", the rest of the message read.
The The Rise of Jordan Peterson is a 90-minute follow-up to a shorter version of the documentary Shut Him Down that aired in Canada last year. It features the story of Toronto University professor of psychology Jordan Peterson, author of the best-selling book 12 Rules of Life that focuses on the questions of gender equality, masculinity, social identities, and climate change. The screening of the film was, however, cancelled in theatres in Toronto and New York earlier this month based on complaints from staff.
“The people who run these venues are so worried about getting in trouble", Ghaderi said. “An old professor of mine once told me that artists are supposed to be fearless, but when I'm reading these emails from these gatekeepers, I'm thinking, ‘Man, you people should go work for the government or something'".
Another of the film's producers, Patricia Marcoccia, who first came across Peterson’s works 15 years ago as a psychology student at McMaster University in Ontario, believes that attempts to silence the conservative psychologist have only contributed to his popularity.
“The attempts to shut him down definitely brought him a new level of fame", Marcoccia said during the interview with The Stranger, "but if it was just that, I think he would have had his 15 minutes and that would have been it. He wouldn't have had any of the staying power and he would not have reached people on this level. I think that has to do with the ideas he talks about".
Peterson shot to international fame in 2016 after releasing a three-part series on YouTube where he criticised a bill that was mandating the use of gender-neutral pronouns (such as they/zie/zher) when referring to persons who do not identify as a male or female. He has been widely criticised from the radical left part of the political spectrum for trying to promote ideas that run contrary to mainstream political correctness. Peterson has strongly denied any accusations of being a disseminator of hate speech or a right-wing fanatic, arguing instead that he is an individualist and promoter of free speech.