Comedy Show Charges White Men More, So Internet Loses It

“We didn’t expect people to have quite this reaction to it.”

by Allison Tierney
Sep 20 2017, 6:07pm

Left image via Shutterstock | Right screencap via YouTube, '12 Angry Men'

UPDATE: The Times-Colonist is reporting that the move to charge white men double for the show was a marketing ploy by the film's director, Shiraz Higgins, and claims he was impersonating spokesperson "Sid Mohammed." "Mohammed" gave interviews to the Times-Colonist, The Canadian Press and VICE. After being confronted by VICE about the report, Higgins admitted he was "Mohammed" but claimed he was using a pseudonym to protect himself from online backlash. "This is not a prank in any way shape or form," he then claimed. The original story appears below.

The people behind a comedy show screening in Victoria, British Columbia are facing death threats after word spread about their special pricing system meant to combat privilege. Named "Building the Room," the event's "justice pricing" was announced last week: White, cis, hetero, able-bodied men were expected to pay $20, whereas tickets for others were set at $10.

Now, after death threats, discourse, and vicious social media backlash, organizers have lowered the price for white, cis, hetero, able-bodied men to $15.

"We didn't expect people to have quite this reaction to it," Sid Mohammed, an organizer for the event, told VICE. "As soon as we announced the ticket pricing model, people started reacting to it… We didn't even really have a chance to promote the event on our own."

An onslaught of conversation on Facebook and Reddit ensued, as well as emails containing death threats and accusations of racism and discrimination.

Mohammed referenced university student and senior prices as similar pricing systems, both of which are common practices by many businesses. He said he thought, "Let's take it to the level of public discourse and make it happen for real," in regards to setting up a pricing model that would account for the privilege of white, cis, hetero, able-bodied men.

"If all businesses adopted a justice pricing model, then there could be some sort of rubric that really targets more specifically and more carefully the disparity right to the number and dollar amount," he said.

Building the Room is described as "your friendly neighborhood comedy web-series about comedians being uncomfortable and hurt for the opportunity to perform."

Mohammed said that they have yet to contact police about the death threats. "It seems the odd email threat is par for the course when you put out something that is controversial," he said.

Building the Room premieres Thursday, September 28 at 7:30 PM at the Roxy Theatre in Victoria. The date which tickets will go on sale is currently up in the air, according to Mohammed. Profits from door admission will go to the Victoria Pride Society and the Native Friendship Centre of Victoria.