A Hollywood actor with local roots is expressing disappointment that a scheduled appearance in Winnetka for his new book was canceled, believing it was tied to his support for the State of Israel.

Brett Gelman, who grew up in Highland Park, had been set to appear in March at The Book Stall as part of a nationwide book tour promoting “The Terrifying Realm of the Possible.” It is the first book for the actor/comedian/writer Gelman, known for his acting roles on several television shows including the BBC series “Fleabag” and Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”

Gelman’s book is filled with short stories whose characters manage their way through complex situations life presents them.

“Some concerns were brought to our attention indicating this event would prove to be more controversial than we as a small business could have handled,” The Book Stall owner Stephanie Hochschild wrote in an email.

Gelman, who is Jewish, believes the cancelation was tied to his outspoken support of Israel since the start of the war last October and there were fears of protests.

He emphasized the book has nothing to do with the war in the Middle East.

“Even if it did, that should be my right to talk about that,” he said in an interview with Pioneer Press.

Gelman labeled the action “unfortunate.”

“There could have been a conversation about me providing the security,” he said.

He was dismayed to tell area friends and relatives who were planning to see him in person at the Winnetka appearance that it would not proceed.

“It was heartbreaking for them and that breaks my heart and makes me even angrier,” he said.

This was not an isolated event. A San Francisco book store also canceled an appearance by Gelman. Several other scheduled nationwide appearances remain on the calendar, according to a spokesman for the actor.

Hochschild explained two of the three bookstores who agreed to host the actor canceled their events for similar reasons.

“That said, we have supported Jewish authors — and authors from many walks of life — during our proud 75-year history. Starting in late March, we will feature Brett Gelman’s book, as we do newly released books,” Hochschild added. “Anti-Semitism or hate of any kind has no place at The Book Stall.”

Winnetka Deputy Police Chief Dylan Majcher said he was not aware of any specific threats against The Book Stall related to the planned Gelman appearance.

Gelman’s spokesman added they are working on adding another date in the Chicago area with details likely to be announced soon.

Gelman emphatically spoke of wanting to face his detractors following the cancelations.

“I won’t back down to these people,” he said. “As soon as you do, they win. They are bullies, through and through.”

Daniel I. Dorfman is a freelance reporter with Pioneer Press.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *