Filmmakers Patricia Marcoccia and Maziar Ghaderi have been making the media rounds for their new documentary on Jordan Peterson — the Canadian psychologist who's exploded in popularity for his no-holds-barred opposition to all things politically correct — and the pair received a text in the middle of their interview with Seattle paper The Stranger.
The text came from a pastor outside of Portland, Oregon, who agreed to show the film — "The Rise of Jordan Peterson" — at his church and had been getting complaints and threats as a result, the paper said. The pastor forwarded one of the threats to Ghaderi, the Stranger reported:
"Fair warning," it read, "several community organizations are planning to shut down your showing of the Jordan Peterson propaganda film. While many of us aren't Christian and some even flat-out condemn the religion, we do not want any harm to come to your place of worship or those within. However, we cannot allow fascism to continue to rise and will not tolerate its presence in our city, whether it is on the streets or on the waterfront or in a church. Read some history books, read about eugenics, read about sex and gender and then compare it to Peterson. Pray on it if you must. Do the right thing. As much as we joke about it, we really don't want to have to bring out the guillotine to fix society."
The paper said that just before Ghaderi got the text from the pastor, the interviewer asked what impact the filmmakers believed the backlash against Peterson has had on his rise to fame.
"The attempts to shut him down definitely brought him a new level of fame," Marcoccia told The Stranger, "but if it was just that, I think he would have had his 15 minutes, and that would have been it. He wouldn't have had any of the staying power, and he would not have reached people on this level. I think that has to do with the ideas he talks about."
What else has happened regarding the documentary?
This paper added that a Toronto venue recently canceled a weeklong run of "The Rise of Jordan Peterson," and a Brooklyn theater followed suit over complaints from staff.
“The people who run these venues are so worried about getting in trouble," Ghaderi told The Stranger. “An old professor of mine once told me that artists are supposed to be fearless, but when I'm reading these emails from these gatekeepers, I'm thinking, 'Man, you people should go work for the government or something.'"
More from the paper on Peterson:
Is he dangerous? A lot of people think so. Over the weekend, the New York Times published an opinion piece by a parent worried about children being recruited online by racists. She wrote that she almost lost control of the car she was driving when she heard her son use the word “triggered," which she calls a “calling card of the alt-right." She names Peterson videos a sign of radicalization as well, writing that his “perspectives on feminism and gender are very popular among young men and often are a path to more extreme content and ideologies."
This argument has been made frequently—and it's addressed in the film—but many of the Peterson fans I've spoken to have told me the opposite: Peterson didn't guide them to the alt-right; he guided them back from it. This discrepancy between what his followers see and what his critics say can make the outrage over him seemed like a kind of moral panic. In the 1990s, parents were being warned not to let their kids listen to heavy metal, lest they turn into devil worshipers. Today, they're being warned not to let their kids listen to Jordan Peterson lectures on YouTube, lest they turn into Nazis.
The Rise Of Jordan Peterson - Official Trailer youtu.be