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Screening scrapped in Victoria as group cancels fibbing filmmaker's contract

Last Updated Sep 26, 2017 at 2:20 pm EST

VICTORIA – Mounting protests against a filmmaker who planned to charge higher admission to white men attending the screening of his movie have led a Victoria theatre society to cancel its contract to show the film.

Blue Bridge Theatre Society president Evan Roberts says the society will cancel its facility rental agreement with Shiraz Higgins of Made You Look Media to show “Building The Room.”

Higgins used the false name Sid Mohammed when he announced a so-called justice-pricing model to charge white men as much as $20, while others would pay $10 based on the purchasing power of individual groups and “price discrimination.”

Roberts says Blue Bridge Theatre Society does not believe in any form of prejudicial pricing.

He says the contract was cancelled because Higgins breached the deal by unveiling the pricing model without the society’s knowledge or consent.

In a news release, Roberts says the society regrets the effect the decision will have on the artists involved in making the film but it can’t support what it considers irresponsible actions.

The society says it must distance itself from the “illegitimate pricing scheme” to preserve the faith of its audience members.

“Making this announcement without the knowledge or consent of (the society) has resulted in a storm of negative response aimed at Mr. Higgins and (the theatre society),” the release says.

Higgins, 27, admitted last week that he felt “silly” for using a false name to promote what he calls justice pricing, but said he was concerned about a backlash that could risk his safety.

Although the two-tiered admission was lowered to $15 for white men, Higgins stood by the concept, saying it represents “an important piece of overall conversation that is happening in society right now.”

He said he’d heard from women who said they pay more than men for goods and services, including hair cuts and hygienic and cosmetic products.

The 70-minute documentary-style movie “Building the Room” is a behind-the-scenes look at comedians putting on a stand-up show. It was scheduled for a screening in Victoria on Thursday night.