Club Cancels Michael Rapaport Show Over Israel Support

May 3, 2024

In a recent development that has stirred conversations about free speech and the influence of political views on public events, comedian Michael Rapaport expressed frustration after his comedy show in Madison, Wisconsin, was canceled. The cancellation was attributed to safety concerns following threats linked to his outspoken support for Israel.

Rapaport discussed the situation in an episode of his podcast released last Friday. He revealed that he felt very upset upon learning from his agent that his scheduled performances at a local venue were called off. “I didn’t think that it would get to a point where my beliefs and me standing up for what I know is right, regarding Jews, regarding Israel, regarding being Jewish and just the right thing, would get to a point where a club would cancel my show because they are afraid of an incident happening,” he explained.

According to Rapaport, the cancellation occurred after the comedy club, known as Comedy on State, began receiving threats when they started promoting a second show following the sell-out of his initial performance. Despite these challenges, Rapaport instructed his agent that the show must go on, emphasizing his unwillingness to succumb to the pressures of those trying to silence him.

However, the venue decided to cancel his Thursday show. In a letter sent to ticket holders, Comedy on State explained that the decision was due to “escalating protests” and the “contentious nature of the dialogue” surrounding the conflict in Gaza. The letter highlighted the venue’s concern for the “safety and well-being of our audience members, staff, and community,” describing the cancellation as a difficult but necessary action.

“I’m embarrassed about it. I’m not embarrassed because it happened to me. I’m embarrassed that it’s happening to Jewish people. I’m embarrassed because it happened to me because I’m speaking out on behalf of Jewish people … the hostages … on what I know is right,” he said.

On his podcast, Rapaport expressed concern over what he perceives as a dangerous precedent being set when venues cancel events due to artists’ personal beliefs. He argued that this trend goes against fundamental American values like free speech and inclusivity. “The idea that clubs could be bullied … Jewish people or anybody should be bullied, threatened, canceled boycotted or any of this stuff, is so against anything that I believe in, anything that this country is about,” he stated.

 

 

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