Why Silencing The Hodgetwins Is Hypocritical Of The Springer
The Springer claims to be a champion of free speech, so why do they combat speech they do not agree with?
A public Springer Opera House ad for No Shame Theatre: a free speech performing arts event where anything goes, hosted weekly by the Opera House. Its venue at the Springer appears contradictory to the theatre’s recent cancellation of The Hodgetwins.
Image Credit:
The Springer Opera House, via springeroperahouse.org

This article is the opinion of the writer, which is based on the facts presented by the world around us.

Crowds can be seen gathering outside the doors of The Springer Opera House every Friday Night as they search for “The Lady”; a silver-painted mannequin sporting a punk-rock vibe used to mark the entrance for the adult-only event. People from all backgrounds queue up to pay their admission fee as many grab an adult beverage from the bar before making their way to their seats. The entrance alone is experiential. 

According to the Springer Opera House’s website, No Shame Theatre is, “a late-night, uncensored event in which performers get five minutes to express themselves through music, poetry, sketch comedy, prose, rap, improvisation, dance, rants, stand-up comedy — almost anything goes. There are only three rules: The performance can last no longer than five minutes; The performance must be your original material, [and]; You can’t break anything – the space, the law, or yourself.”

As a prior weekly attendee, this writer can personally attest to the raunchy, hyper-sexual, unforgiving nature of No Shame Theatre. Free speech used to be an understatement at this weekly event; past-tense. Beginning in 2019, this writer walked out of the No Shame audience and has never returned. The theatre had stopped serving as a platform for free speech and expression and had morphed into a political soapbox of censorship, discontent, and division.

Conservative values were  not only no longer welcome at No Shame, but were now actively spoken out against as if the event were a political rally. Any on-stage speech that did not conform with the views of the extreme political left were, in effect, forbidden. Perfomers who dared to speak against this censorship were shunned. This writer will never return to such a hostile and controlling “free speech” event.

However , the Springer’s outward projection of what No Shame claimed to be  had not changed. The event continued to be marketed as a haven for free speech, albeit only in theory. The reality now was that any speech was permitted on-stage, so long as it wasn’t conservative; an unwritten fourth rule that would be hypocritical of the theatre to publish.

Dedicated Columbus Police Officers pull armed security inside the theatre during  the event, who have had to act in the defense of others several times during No Shame over the past few years. Ironically, the officers stand guard while performers  speak against the police in general or the firearms in their holsters — which ironically protect the stage upon which performers have the right to freely speak.

But the slogan of being a place for free expression persisted.

On July 9, 2022, The Springer Opera House released a public statement that they made the “tough decision” to cancel a comedy performance by The Hodgetwins — a wildly successful comedy duo who hold conservative values and happen to be black. 

The Springer claimed the absolute-last-minute cancellation was due to nonpayment of the rental fee, but that erroneous claim was publicly proven false by a leaked Springer employee’s email, which we covered in our story yesterday.

 The email, sent by the Springer employee responsible for communication with The Hodgetwins, revealed the true reason for the cancellation was, “because of the content of the show.” 

The employee went on to explain that, “In the Columbus Community the Springer represents a safe place for all. We have a lot of LGBTQ supporters on our staff and on our board. They feel that the content of the show that you are presenting does not represent that.” 

In summary, it was made very clear in plain English that the Springer was cancelling The Hodgetwins performance over their content. The Springer did not want to allow conservative humor to have the opportunity to penetrate the ears of their staff members and possibly offend someone. 

The Springer later described the act of the comedy duo in a Facebook comment, calling their good-humored comedy “hate speech” — a term without any legal definition often used by the political Left to demonize “free speech” they do not happen to agree with. 

The Hodgetwins, like most professional comedians, poke fun at everybody. They are equal-opportunity insulters who find and exploit the irony and contradiction found in all people from all walks of life — be them black, white, male, queer, or a purple alien synthetically created in a laboratory. They’re comedians. 

But don’t you dare point any fun at the Left — especially while at the Springer Opera House in Columbus, Ga. They won’t allow it, and they’ll go out of their way to defame you just for thinking about it. This is, in fact, exactly what the Springer just did: they very publicly framed The Hodgetwins (who are multimillionaires) for being fiscally insolvent, over a measly $3000 rental fee, which was not even contractually due until the day of the performance — all in a direct effort to cover-up their own discriminatory and censor-driven behavior, which they ironically described plainly in an email the day prior. 

The irony of the Springer claiming to be a safe-haven for free speech is immense. The hypocrisy of the Springer is known today by millions of Americans — and that’s no exaggeration. The Hodgetwins have a Facebook following of over 6.1 million people. 

Awareness of this hypocrisy raises some serious questions for how The Springer, Columbusites, Georgians, and Americans continue to bolster divides within our society. 

It raises questions as to the methods through which the Springer’s board members and executives choose to steward the future of the historic opera house. Are these executives truly naïve enough to think their donors do not notice when they boldly lie to their faces in public? Do these board members honestly believe this sort of behavior will be beneficial to the financial future of the Springer? 

An even bolder question to ask is, “why does this organization receive tax dollar subsidies if it has the power to censor based on political ideology?” 

Perhaps the City of Columbus should be asking these difficult questions and reflecting upon the implications of their answers. 

In the mean time, the hypocrisy continues. At least, until the fiscal deficit grows too large and they run out of other people’s money.

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