Earlier this month, Hinckley posted an email address on Twitter for anyone who wants to “book a show or other offers” with him. While still serving his sentence for attempting to assassinate the president, Hinckley began posting original and cover songs to his YouTube channel, which now has nearly 30,000 subscribers. Before he even began his unconditional release, he had booked a show at Market Hotel in Brooklyn, New York.
On Wednesday, however, the venue announced that it had canceled Hinckley’s performance, citing alleged “threats and hate.”
“We do believe that ex-cons and people with mental illness can recover, and that we should want them to maintain hope that they can better themselves and earn a chance to fully rejoin society,” the venue wrote in a lengthy Instagram post. “[B]ut we are living in dangerous times, and after being presented with and reflecting on some very real and worsening threats and hate facing our vulnerable communities – our family here in nightlife – and after seeing the nature of who this booking has antagonized, and who and what else those same folks are upset about: we don’t see the need to allow someone who did something awful to skip the line and play even our middle size independent community stage.”
The venue also acknowledged that Hinckley wouldn’t have sold tickets without his association with the assassination attempt.
“If we were going to host an event for the principle, and potentially put others at risk in doing so, it shouldn’t be for some stunt booking — no offense to the artist,” the venue added. “We might feel differently if we believed the music was important and transcended the infamy, but that’s just not the case here (though any artist can get there — even someone who committed awful crimes and suffered mental illness).”
“It is not worth a gamble on the safety of our vulnerable communities to give a guy a microphone and a paycheck from his art who hasn’t had to earn it, who we don’t care about on an artistic level, and who upsets people in a dangerously radicalized, reactionary climate,” the venue concluded.
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Hinckley attempted to assassinate President Reagan on March 30, 1981, later claiming he did so to get actress Jodie Foster’s attention. Reagan was wounded enough to spend 12 days in a hospital, after a bullet ricocheted off the presidential limousine and struck him under his left arm. Press Secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy, and policeman Thomas Delahanty were also wounded in the shooting. Brady, who died in 2014, spent the rest of his life partially paralyzed due to the attack.
Starting in 2016, Hinckley was given permission to live full-time with his mother, but was still required to attend therapy and had travel restrictions. On June 15, 2022, he began his unconditional release, writing on Twitter: “After 41 years 2 months and 15 days, FREEDOM AT LAST!!!”
After 41 years 2 months and 15 days, FREEDOM AT LAST!!!
— John Hinckley (@JohnHinckley20) June 15, 2022