GOP cam­paign booth set up in the­ater lobby crit­i­cized, de­fended

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Local - BY PAUL A. SPECHT as­[email protected]­sob­ Specht: 919-829-4870 @AndySpecht

A the­ater faces push­back for al­low­ing the lo­cal Re­pub­li­can Party to dis­trib­ute Trump cam­paign mer­chan­dise in its lobby.

TheWake County Re­pub­li­can Party onWed­nes­day set up a ta­ble full of mer­chan­dise at the Re­gal Cross­roads Sta­dium 20 as they pro­moted a screen­ing of the Di­nesh D’Souza movie, “Death of a Na­tion.”

On Red­dit and Twit­ter, some ques­tioned whether the the­ater should al­low po­lit­i­cal groups to set up booths.

On Thurs­day af­ter­noon, Re­gal Cin­e­mas sent a mes­sage sug­gest­ing the Cary the­ater­may have vi­o­lated cor­po­rate pol­icy.

“Re­gal pro­hibits so­lic­it­ing on our premises in­clud­ing sup­port for any po­lit­i­cal can­di­date. We have fol- lowed up with the re­spec­tive par­ties in­volved re­gard­ing the re­cent tabling at Cross­roads, re­in­forc­ing our pol­icy,” the Ten­nessee-based com­pany tweeted to a News & Ob­server re­porter.

Charles Hell­wig, chair­man of theWake County Re­pub­li­can Party, told The N&O that the booth was erected by party vol­un­teers who re­ceived per­mis­sion from the­ater work­ers.

On Wed­nes­day, a movie­goer post­ing a photo of the booth on Red­dit un­der the name RealEzraGar­ri­son said Re­gal “would never re­ceive an­other penny fromme.”

“Seems kind of weird to have a cam­paign booth at a movie the­ater, at least when the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion is so far away,” one Red­di­tor, Ir­ish­fafnir, posted.

“This is gross. Who wants to be so­licited to in their free time, es­pe­cially over Trump? I’m go­ing to Mis­sion Val­ley from now on,” an­other per­son, JAb­bott75, posted on Twit­ter.

“Re­gard­less of po­lit­i­cal views, go­ing to amovie I want all gov­ern­ment out of my damn business. I’m there to see amovie, not deal with po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns. Hate be­ing ap­proached by booths like th­ese,” an­other Red­di­tor, Javab----, posted.

Some de­fended the the­ater.

“When I first saw this post I fig­ured it was in­ap­pro­pri­ate, but given the con­text of a con­ser­va­tive movie com­ing out, and the Wake County GOP hav­ing bought out the the­ater it makes sense tome,” Red­di­tor Muri­can_Free­dom1776 posted.

The post gen­er­ated 600 com­ments be­fore Red­dit mod­er­a­tors stepped in and froze the thread.

Hell­wig said the neg­a­tive at­ten­tion is un­war­ranted.

The vol­un­teers didn’t re­port any com­plaints to him, Hell­wig said— only that they gave out “sev­eral MAGA hats to peo­ple who weren’t even there for the D’Souza movie,” re­fer­ring to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s cam­paign slo­gan, “Make Amer­ica Great Again.”

The party, which had Di­nesh D’Souza speak at an event last year, took do­na­tions that will pay for door-hanger voter guides.

“All the snowflakes need to take a deep breath and re­lax,” Hell­wig said.

The Wake County Re­pub­li­can Party

Vol­un­teers for the Wake County Re­pub­li­can Party on Wed­nes­day man a booth at the Re­gal the­ater in Cary.

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