News / Edmonton

Jordan Peterson no longer scheduled to speak in Edmonton

Peterson says lecture was cancelled with 'no explanation,' but Citadel Theatre say they never finalized the contract

Jordan Peterson during a lecture at the University of Toronto.

Rene Johnston / Toronto Star Staff

Jordan Peterson during a lecture at the University of Toronto.

The Citadel Theatre announced Tuesday it will not host Jordan Peterson for a planned Edmonton lecture.

Peterson, a University of Toronto psychology professor who gained notoriety in 2016 after he said he would refuse to use some transgender students’ proper pronouns, had posted on his website that he was scheduled to speak at the Citadel Theatre’s Zeidler Hall on Feb. 11.

On Monday, Metro spoke with transgender Edmontonians who worried his speech could “embolden” Edmontonians with anti-LGBTQ views.

After the story circulated, Peterson – who grew up in Alberta – tweeted Tuesday morning that the event had been cancelled “with no explanation whatsoever.”

Citadel Theatre responded Tuesday afternoon confirming it will not host the event, saying in an e-mail statement that Peterson had announced the lecture before his contract was finalized.

"The client, Dr. Jordan Peterson, prematurely announced that the event was to occur at the Citadel prior to the finalization of the contract," the statement reads.

"The Citadel Theatre reserves the right to refuse events that are not in keeping with our mandate, values or vision statement. Upon review of this event, we determined this event was one we should refuse on that basis, and advised Dr. Peterson that his request to rent the venue was declined without acceptance of his deposit for the rental."

Dozens of Peterson supporter’s blasted the cancellation on Twitter, and one offered to host the lecture in his apartment.

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Peterson, who is on a book tour in Europe, sent Metro a statement via e-mail saying he made the booking several weeks ago to discuss his new book, '12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos'.

“The decision to cancel my appearance at the Citadel Theatre—no explanation provided—is regrettable, made in haste, and unprofessional,” Peterson wrote. He said the book explores “what it means to live a truthful, meaningful and responsible life.

“It is both surprising and saddening that the Citadel believes such a discussion is, in the words they prepared for the press, ‘not in keeping with [their] mandate, values or vision statement.’ I think that statement speaks somewhat inadvertently for itself.”

A spokesperson for the book's publishing company, Penguin Random House Canada, said Peterson initiated the booking himself and no one from Penguin was in touch with the theatre.

John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, said as a private facility the Citadel has full discretion over who to rent to, though he questioned whether the theatre should get any government funding at all if it is selective about who it hosts.

“This incident does beg the question as to whether the government should be funding a theatre that is not going to welcome all groups and is not going to be inclusive of Jordan Peterson’s perspective,” Carpay said.

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