TicketNetwork announced last week that it was barring any ticket listings from its marketplace and affiliate websites for performances featuring John Hinckley, Jr. The company informed ticket brokers and other partners via email on Thursday, signed by CEO Don Vaccaro.
Hinckley, 66, attempted to assassinate then-President Ronald Reagan in 1981, shooting him and three others in an attempt to impress actress Jodie Foster. A jury found him not guilty of attempted murder and other charges by reason of insanity, and he has spent the majority of the intervening years confined in psychiatric care. But following his release from confinement in 2016, he sought and recently received permission to release and perform under his own name, and made headlines by selling out a Brooklyn performance scheduled for this summer.
In banning listings for Hinckley’s upcoming shows, Vaccaro stressed that the decision was not politically motivated. “It is an issue of integrity and steering clear of supporting an individual who is trading on notoriety gained through an atrocious act,” he says. “We understand that not all in the entertainment industry will share our views on this. We also know that others will take a different approach and have no issues with marketing and profiting from tickets to these events if the demand is there. For us, the potential money to be made is not worth it.”
Currently, there is only one performance scheduled on what Hinckley is calling his “Redemption Tour,” on July 8 at Brooklyn’s Market Hotel. Two other shows – one in Chicago and another in Hamden, Connecticut, were announced but then subsequently cancelled.
The full message from TicketNetwork regarding its banning of Hinckley’s tour dates is included below:
To our Valued TicketNetwork Partners,
You may have heard that John Hinckley, Jr. has announced plans for a “redemption” tour, performing music at several venues, with hopes of adding more. TicketNetwork has made an internal decision to not allow listings for these events on our marketplace.
This decision covers any property and platform under TicketNetwork control, including primary ticketing platforms, secondary sites, and inventory partnerships. Our position on this issue is firm and not subject to revision.
John Hinckley, for those unaware, attempted to assassinate then-President Ronald Reagan in 1981. In the attack, he wounded the President, as well as police officer Thomas Delahanty, secret service agent Tim McCarthy, and Press Secretary James Brady. Brady’s death 33 years later was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, attributed to the grave injuries suffered on that day.
The decision to stay away from any events involving this individual is not motivated by political ideals – I’m not a Republican. It is an issue of integrity and steering clear of supporting an individual who is trading on notoriety gained through an atrocious act.
Beyond this, we feel allowing these events on our marketplace or supported by our business operations introduces several other issues for clients and venues alike:
- A public performance of this nature creates a substantial security risk for patrons and staff alike at the venue.
- If an individual can draw a crowd based only on fame achieved through atrocity, it could inspire others to do the same.
- Given existing anti-police sentiment in this country, providing a platform for someone so publicly associated with a direct attack on law enforcement could help further marginalize and demoralize those who protect and serve.
We understand that not all in the entertainment industry will share our views on this. We also know that others will take a different approach and have no issues with marketing and profiting from tickets to these events if the demand is there. For us, the potential money to be made is not worth it.
I hope you can forgive us if this harms your business, and I hope that none of you stop doing business with us on account of it. This letter is an attempt to at least explain the reasons for us taking this position directly. We hope that you agree with the choice, but do not fault you if you disagree.
Don Vaccaro, CEO