- The planned ReAwaken America tour stop in Rochester, New York was canceled on Monday.
- The Main Street Armory owner said he heard a flood of concern from local residents.
- “ReAwaken America” has been described as promoting Christian nationalism and white supremacy.
The owner of a venue in upstate New York that was set to host the controversial “ReAwaken America” tour in August canceled the event after it was heavily criticized by locals.
Main Street Armory owner Scott Donaldson wrote in an email Monday that he made his decision after “careful consideration” and in response to a “wave of concern from our community, both good and bad.” several local media reported.
“I want to say that the Main Street Armory is an equal opportunity place and a non-political place,” Donaldson said in a statement, 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 is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs,” he continued.
Main Street Armory did not immediately respond to insiders’ requests for comment.
The “ReAwaken America” tour was originally scheduled to stop at Donaldson’s venue in Rochester, New York on August 12th and 13th.
Since the tour started in April 2021, she has toured states including Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Colorado and Texas, according to her website. The August 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 groups like QAnon. High-profile Christian leaders have said it promotes Christian nationalism that promotes “anti-democratic, pro-violence, and Q-Anon-inspired ideologies,” Baptist News Global reported.
The tour’s keynote speakers included MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, InfoWars host and conspiracy theory promoter Alex Jones, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Roger Stone – the former political adviser to former President Donald Trump, who is now accused of smuggling him having had close ties to extremist groups.
In response to inquiries from insiders, Clark wrote in an email that he had heard about the Main Street Armory’s decision from media reports.
“I believe in capitalism, and if a venue feels we’re not a good match for their venue, I respect that decision,” he wrote, saying he has five backup venues in line but didn’t mention any by name.
An event flyer shows Flynn and Stone were scheduled to speak at the Rochester stop.
An online petition created by New Yorkers called on the Main Street Armory to back out of hosting the tour, saying the event will “likely draw white supremacists and other members of hate groups from the Northeast to our community.”
It also warned that the dates of the event, August 12 and 13, fall on the anniversary of a white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville that turned violent. The petition has received more than 2,000 signatures.
Two bands scheduled to perform at the Main Street Armory also threatened to cancel their shows because of the ReAwaken America tour. Grammy-nominated indie-pop band Japanese Breakfast said Friday they were canceling their Sept. 27 performance while the Rochester-based indie rock band joywave said it would do the same if the tour went ahead as planned.
Meanwhile, local leaders of the Monroe County Democratic Caucus released a statement in May saying they were “deeply disturbed” by the tour’s halt in Rochester and asked Donaldson to have the tour “put to sleep,” the local reported CBS affiliate WROC 8.
Donaldson said in his statement Monday that the event’s cancellation was part of “it’s my turn to show my support to Rochester.”
“Hope to see you all here at future events. (Apart from those who have threatened me and my staff, you are not welcome),” he wrote, according to Spectrum.