Cancel Jordan Peterson's Event at the Ottawa Centrepointe Theatre

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On July 23rd, 2018, University of Toronto psychology professor, Jordan Peterson, is scheduled to give a talk at the Ottawa Centrepointe Theatre as part of his 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos book tour. As women, people of colour, members of the Indigenous, and LGBTQ+ communities, and residents of Ottawa, we feel strongly that Peterson’s talk will promote violence and endorse sentiments of misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, and intolerance within our community. In light of the Toronto van attack that left ten dead and many more injured, Peterson has responded not by condemning the actions of the perpetrator, Alek Minassian, but rather Peterson chose to align himself with the Incel (“involuntary celibate”) movement that Minassian belonged to and that heralds mass murderer Elliot Rodger as its hero. The Incel movement is categorized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “part of an online male supremacist ecosystem”. The SPLC explains that these hate groups “consistently denigrate and dehumanize women, often including advocating physical and sexual violence against them. (Janik, 2018)” Members of the Incel movement have frequently championed the concept of “sexual redistribution”, also called “enforced monogamy”. (Bowles, 2018)


“‘He was angry at God because women were rejecting him,’ Mr. Peterson says of the Toronto killer. ‘The cure for that is enforced monogamy. That’s actually why monogamy emerges.’” (Bowles, 2018)

The quotation above from The New York Times includes a direct quote in which Peterson, asserts that the solution to male supremacist terrorism is forcing women into sexual relationships with men to prevent them from killing. Not only does this statement shift the blame from the killer onto the women who rejected him, it validates the terrorist’s actions by suggesting we respond by meeting their demands. From this statement, it is clear that Peterson’s sympathies are not with the victims or their families, but with the terrorist who feels entitled to women’s bodies.

Peterson’s book also includes a preface by graphic artist, Ethan Van Sciver. Van Sciver has worked with Marvel and DC Comics in the past and provided the illustrations for 12 Rules for Life. Van Sciver has published a sketchbook, entitled My Struggle (Van Sciver, 2007), the English translation of Adolph Hitler’s manifesto title, Mein Kampf. Unfortunately, this is not the only time Van Sciver has associated himself with far-right extremism, having also hosted a vehement white supremacist on his online podcast. Peterson’s willingness to collaborate with individuals like Van Sciver demonstrates that he has little problem aligning himself with racism and white supremacy.

Peterson’s rhetoric further contributes to the disproportionate violence against marginalized and minority groups. By dehumanizing and scapegoating us, he endangers each and every one of us. Every person deserves to feel safe in their community and the Centrepointe Theatre is very much a part of ours. It is for this reason that we call upon the Theatre to cancel this event. Giving a platform for intolerance at the Theatre invites and endorses Peterson’s message of hatred.

Endorsements:

Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD), Black Sheep Supper Club, Carleton Food Collective. 

Resources

Janik, Rachel. “‘I Laugh at the Death of Normies’: How Incels Are Celebrating the Toronto Mass Killing.” Southern Poverty Law Center, 24 Apr. 2018, www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/04/24/i-laugh-death-normies-how-incels-are-celebrating-toronto-mass-killing 

Bowles, Nellie. “Jordan Peterson, Custodian of the Patriarchy.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 18 May 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/05/18/style/jordan-peterson-12-rules-for-life.html

 Van Sciver, Ethan. My Struggle Sketchbook. Vol. 1, Self Published, 2007.



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