Royal Oak's Emagine Theater pulls plug on Juneteenth film festival after chairman is threatened with legal action


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Uh oh. Daddy Glantz is mad.

Earlier this week, Royal Oak's Emagine Theater announced it would kick-off a weeklong film festival on Juneteenth by screening a dozen films about race in America to benefit the United Negro College Fund, despite not legally being allowed to do so under the Governor's coronavirus executive order.

Well, word spread fast. Emagine announced Thursday that it will postpone the festival after Emagine chairman Paul Glantz was served with a letter from the Attorney General's office threatening legal action should the theater host the festival as planned.

In a press release announcing the event's postponement, Glantz expressed his rage over Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's orders.

“The hypocrisy of our Governor’s orders is unfathomable in magnitude,” Glantz said. “Strip clubs are open, massage parlors are open, and yet there is alleged ‘science and data’ to support the continued closure of movie theaters. It is okay to walk arm and arm with folks in Highland Park for a photo op in violation of social distancing guidelines, but we allegedly pose a threat to the life and safety of our guests. If there is anything more arbitrary and capricious in governmental behavior, I certainly haven’t experienced it in my lifetime.”

Glantz said Emagine's guests “are guaranteed the right to peaceably assemble in the absence of a rational justification to permit such rights,” adding that Emagine's reopening plan was submitted to the governor's office for review and that they have yet to receive any feedback.

“We find this wrongful abuse of governmental power appalling, and we will be seeking legal redress to prevent it from occurring in the future,” Glantz said.

Most of Michigan entered phase 4 of Whitmer's plan to reopen the state's economy earlier this month. Whitmer has been aiming to move metro Detroit into phase 5 by July 4, which may include the reopening of movie theaters. On June 1, Whitmer lifted the state's stay-at-home order and loosened restrictions and closures of many businesses, including drive-in movie theaters.

Emagine Royal Oak plans to reschedule the festival's programming to a later date, which will continue to support UNCF by donating 100% of net sales, or $6.50 per $10 movie ticket. Tickets purchased will automatically be refunded.

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