NYC venue cancels debut concert for man who shot Ronald Reagan: It’s not a free country anymore

File this one under bizarre.

John Hinckley, Jr., 57, just got his full, unconditional release granted on Wednesday. That’s good news for him—but on the same day, he also learned his promising music career has been stalled, after his debut concert in New York City was canceled by the Market Hotel venue that was scheduled to host it.

Oh well…you win some, you lose some.

The journey from would-be presidential assassin to internationally-acclaimed rock star just hit a major roadblock—but don’t worry. Hinckley’s not finished yet, and he still plans to become the musical artist he’s always aspired to be.

Hinckley, you may recall, is the nut job who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981 in order to impress actress Jodie Foster. He was allegedly inspired by watching the movie “Taxi Driver.”

Hinckley managed to wound the president, along with Press Secretary James Brady, Secret Service Agent Timothy McCarthy, and police officer Thomas Delahanty. James Brady was partially paralyzed for the rest of his life as a result of the assassination attempt, for which until recently, Hinckley seemed poised to reap some measure of financial benefit.

Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982, and was confined to a mental hospital for over three decades. In 2016, he was released into the custody of his mother, but his movements and freedoms were still severely restricted.

Finally, things started to look up for Hinckley this year, as the date of his unconditional release drew nearer.

Hinckley decided it was time to reinvent himself with a music career. He invited his social media followers to send him an email if they wanted to “book a show or other offers,” and then he announced that he would be performing 17 songs in Brooklyn, “all originals,” on July 8.

It was to be, by all accounts, one hell of a performance. Unfortunately for Hinckley, the Market Hotel released a lengthy statement on Instagram in which it informed his adoring fans that the event would have to be canceled for security reasons.

“There was a time when a place could host a thing like this,” the Market Hotel’s statement complained, “maybe a little offensive, and the reaction would be ‘it’s just a guy playing a show, who does it hurt—it’s a free country.’ We aren’t living in that kind of free country anymore, for better or for worse.”


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The statement then mentioned something about “worsening threats” and “hate facing our vulnerable communities,” although it did not elaborate on the nature or extent of these threats. Ultimately, the venue concluded that “[it] is not worth a gamble on the safety of our vulnerable communities to give a guy a microphone and a paycheck from his art who hasn’t had to earn it, who we don’t care about on an artistic level, and who upsets people in a dangerously radicalized, reactionary climate.”

In other words, it’s going to be a while before we get the John Hinckley, Jr. concert we’ve all been waiting for. That’s disappointing news for Hinckley’s fans, which according to the number of subscribers to his YouTube page must number somewhere north of 28,000 people.

No word on whether Jodie Foster is one of them.


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Todd Jaquith


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