- The Washington Times
Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The head of a major Canadian movie theater chain issued a statement Monday defending “freedom of expression” in his decision to move forward with a limited screening of the American anti-abortion film “Unplanned.”

Cineplex President and CEO Ellis Jacob said the movie — based on the memoirs of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood worker who became an anti-abortion activist — will run for one week starting Friday at 14 out of the company’s nearly 1,700 theaters across Canada despite backlash from pro-choice groups.

“When I immigrated to Canada back in 1969, one of the things that I loved, and still love, the most about living here is that we don’t shy away from our differences … we embrace them,” Mr. Jacob explained in his statement defending the decision. “Canada is a country that believes in and rallies behind freedom of expression, but that isn’t always an easy thing to do and it certainly doesn’t always make you popular. In this instance many of us will have to set aside our own personal beliefs and remember that living in a country that censors content, opinions and points of view because they are different from our own is not a country that any of us would want to live in.

“I understand and appreciate the concerns about the film, but it is up to each of us to decide whether or not we want to see it,” he said. “In Canada, we have that option and I think it is an important thing to remember.”

At least two movie theaters in Canada have reported being threatened for scheduled showings of “Unplanned.” Salmar Theatres in Salmon Arm was forced to cancel a planned five-day screening of the film and the Movie Mill in Lethbridge said it is beefing up security for its “Unplanned” showings due to potential protests, The Associated Press reported.

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