NYC Venue Cancels Sold Out John Hinckley Jr. Show


A music venue in New York City has caved to pressure and pulled the plug on an upcoming performance by John Hinckley Jr., who shot U.S. president Ronald Regan in 1981.

“There was a time when a place could host a thing like this, maybe a little offensive, and the reaction would be ‘it’s just a guy playing a show, who does it hurt – it’s a free country.’ We aren’t living in that kind of free country anymore, for better or worse,” read a statement from the Market Hotel.

The venue said “hosting provocative happenings for its own sake is valid” and booking Hinckley “sends a message that mental health issues and a criminal past can be recovered from and atoned for.”

But, it admitted it doesn’t “see the need to allow someone who did something awful to skip the line and play even our middle size independent community stage … especially if that artist wouldn’t have sold the tickets without the story of who they are and the violent thing they did.”

Hinckley opened fire at Reagan outside a hotel in Washington D.C. and also wounded the president’s press secretary James Brady, police officer Thomas Delahanty and Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy.

He was acquitted of attempted assassination by reason of insanity and spent decades in a psychiatric facility before being released under supervision in 2016. On Wednesday, a judge lifted all restrictions.

“After 41 years 2 months and 15 days, FREEDOM AT LAST!!!,” Hinckley tweeted.

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In recent years, Hinckley, now 67, has developed a following online by posting original songs as well as covers of songs by artists like Bob Dylan and Canada’s Joni Mitchell.

His July 8 show at Market Hotel, part of what Hinckley hyped as the Redemption Tour, was sold out. He had promised to perform 17 original songs.

The venue’s statement pointed out that hosting Hinckley “harms no one in any practical way.”

It added: “This is a sexagenarian with an acoustic guitar. All the outrage and concern are entirely about the quote message it sends unquote.”

The Market Hotel said “it is not worth a gamble on the safety of our vulnerable communities to give a guy a microphone and a pay check 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.”

Hinckley had not addressed the cancelled gig as of Thursday morning but, in a tweet earlier this month, he wrote: “What this world needs is peace, love and understanding.”