Clinical psychologist Jordan B. Peterson is no stranger to controversy, and threats over a new documentary on his life have added to it.
Filmmakers Patricia Marcoccia and Maziar Ghaderi recently spoke to a Seattle newspaper about their documentary, “The Rise Of Jordan Peterson,” along with threats to those who want to share it with the world.
Theaters in Toronto and Brooklyn canceled showings. A church pastor was also forced to take extra security measures before a showing on Monday.
“The people who run these venues are so worried about getting in trouble,” Mr. Ghaderi said Monday, The Stranger reported. “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.’”
Author Katie Herzog’s piece then notes the moment Mr. Ghaderi “received a text message from a pastor outside of Portland. The pastor had agreed to screen the film at his church and had been getting complaints — and threats.”
One threat forwarded along gave the pastor a “fair warning” as to what he was getting into be considering the film.
“Several community organizations are planning to shut down your showing of the Jordan Peterson propaganda film,” the threat read. “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 creators told the newspaper that their original goal was to make a “very artistic” film about Mr. Peterson’s friendship with a Native woodcarver on northern Vancouver Island, but their efforts coincided with his rise to stardom and the publication of his successful book “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.”
Ms. Herzog added that “The Rise of Jordan Peterson” is “not exactly pro-Peterson propaganda.”
“The film makes ample space for his critics, including one of his old friends and former colleagues who wrote an article calling Peterson ‘dangerous,’” she wrote. “All of this — the myth of Jordan Peterson versus the reality of Jordan Peterson — is what this film is about.”
The documentary can also be pre-ordered on iTunes for $6.99 and should be available on the platform on Oct. 29.
Correction: The original version of this story said a Portland pastor canceled a showing. The event was held on Monday after extra measures were taken to secure viewers’ safety.