Remember the school in Pennsylvania that canceled a planned performance of Monty Python’s Spamalot? They claimed that it wasn’t done because of a gay wedding at the end of the play, but emails obtained through an open records request show that they were lying.
Keystone uncovered a series of emails exchanged among Principal Jesse Smith, musical director Dawn Burch, and Superintendent Mark Stamm that confirm that the only justification Smith ever gave for canceling the production was its “homosexual themes.” Furthermore, documents show that, contrary to claims made by Stamm that the musical had not actually been canceled because it was only “under consideration,” Smith had already signed a check for nearly $2,000 to order the licensing rights specifically for Spamalot back in May.
In emails sent at the end of June, Principal Smith identified two concerns about the show to Burch: “a guy sending another guy a message on girl’s underwear and a gay wedding being performed.” Burch replied that there was no such underwear-sending anywhere in the script, which was in her possession and which she had already read multiple times. As to homosexual themes, she wrote, “I am fully aware of their place in the script and am not certain what offense they create,” noting that marriage equality had recently arrived in Pennsylvania.
Smith followed up by explaining that he was “not comfortable with Spamalot and its homosexual themes for two main reasons.” First, he wrote that drama productions “are supposed to be performances that families can attend” and that “this type of material makes it very hard for that to take place.” Secondly, he claimed that controversial productions “put students in a tough spot,” adding, “I don’t want students to have to choose between their own personal beliefs and whether or not to take part in a production.”
Burch then reached out to Superintendent Stamm, expressing that she was “very shocked” by Smith’s decision and rationale. “It is extremely disappointing that homosexuality would be the basis of not approving a show,” she wrote, suggesting that “this is how we raise children to be haters.” Stamm replied that he was familiar with Smith’s objections and stood by them: “His decision is sound.”
Not terribly surprising. They refuse to acknowledge even the existence of gay people and view any mention of anything gay as a form of oppression.