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Venue cancels pro-Trump tour featuring Michael Flynn and Roger Stone after a community petition warned it could attract white supremacists

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Roger Stone addresses reporters
Roger Stone.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
  • The scheduled "ReAwaken America" tour stop in Rochester, New York, was canceled on Monday.

  • The owner of Main Street Armory said he'd heard a deluge of concern from local residents.

  • "ReAwaken America" has been described as promoting Christian nationalism and white supremacy.

The owner of an upstate New York venue that was set to host the controversial "ReAwaken America" tour in August canceled the event after it received widespread backlash from locals.

Main Street Armory's owner, Scott Donaldson, wrote in an email on Monday that he made his decision after "careful thought" and in response to an outpouring "of concern from our community, both good and bad," several local media outlets reported.

"I'd like to say that the Main Street Armory is an equal opportunity and non-political venue," Donaldson's statement read, according to Spectrum News. "We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender expression, age, national origin, disability, etc."

"I believe everyone has the right to their own opinions and beliefs," he continued.

Main Street Armory did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.

The "ReAwaken America" tour was originally scheduled to make a stop in Rochester, New York, on August 12 and 13 at Donaldson's entertainment venue.

Since the tour launched in April 2021, it's traveled to states including Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Colorado, and Texas, according to its website. August's event in Rochester would have been the group's first rally in New York.

Organized by Clay Clark, a conservative podcast host, the events have been described as a hotbed for far-right extremist groups like QAnon. High-profile Christian leaders have said it promotes Christian nationalism that pushes "anti-democratic, pro-violence and Q-Anon-inspired ideology," Baptist News Global reported.

The tour's featured speakers have included the MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, the InfoWars host and conspiracy-theory promoter Alex Jones, the former national security advisor Michael Flynn, and Roger Stone — the one-time political advisor to former President Donald Trump now accused of having close ties to extremist groups.

In response to queries from Insider, Clark wrote in an email that he had heard of Main Street Armory's decision from media reports.

"I believe in capitalism and if a venue does not think that we are a good fit for their venue I respect that decision," he wrote, and said he had five backup venues in line but did not mention any by name.

An event flyer shows that Flynn and Stone were scheduled to speak at the Rochester stop.

Left: Michael Flynn seated in a crowd in a blue suit and a red and a blue tie; Right: Rudy Giuliani seated next to him in a striped red and black tie and a black suit
Michael Flynn, left, and Rudy Giuliani.AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File

An online petition created by New York residents urged Main Street Armory to withdraw from hosting the tour, saying the event is "likely to draw white supremacists and other members of hate groups from around the northeast to our community."

It also warned that the event's dates, August 12 and 13, fall on the anniversary of a demonstration by white supremacists in Charlottesville that turned violent. The petition has received more than 2,000 signatures.

Two bands slated to perform at Main Street Armory also threatened to pull their shows because of the "ReAwaken America" tour. The Grammy-nominated indie-pop band Japanese Breakfast said on Friday that it would cancel its September 27 performance, while the Rochester-based indie-rock band Joywave said it would do the same if the tour took place as scheduled.

Meanwhile, local leaders from Monroe County's Democratic Caucus released a statement in May saying they were "deeply disturbed" by the tour's stop in Rochester and asked Donaldson to put the tour "to sleep," the local CBS affiliate WROC 8 reported.

Donaldson said in his Monday statement that canceling the event was part of "my turn to show my support back" to Rochester.

"I hope to see you all at future events here. (Apart from the ones who have threatened myself and staff, you are not welcome)," he wrote, according to Spectrum.

 

Read the original article on Business Insider