In regard to my decision to cancel the “Rocky Horror Show” play scheduled for production at the City of Carrollton Cultural Arts Center in Carrollton, Georgia — I feel that I, as your mayor, had no other choice.
It is true that this play was approved by the Carroll County Community Theater’s Board of Directors, a group charged with reviewing and approving plays scheduled to perform at the Cultural Arts Center. It is my further understanding that they did their job — they reviewed the content of the play and voted, with some reservations, to allow the request to proceed. The board issued instructions to “tone the content down” and to make the production more PG-oriented. The director of the play failed to do so, and in fact, took some liberties that headed the play in the opposite direction.
On Sept. 13, 2011, I was contacted by the city manager, Casey Coleman, who informed me that he had received a video of actors rehearsing a scene in the play, titled “Touch Me.” After reviewing this video, I was in absolute agreement with Mr. Coleman that this play could not be performed in the Cultural Arts Center. It is not an appropriate use of tax dollars, city property, city manpower or other city resources.
Later that same afternoon, the Carroll County Community Theater Board of Directors, at their meeting, supported this decision, as did the arts center manager, the director of the Recreation Department, and a majority of our City Council members.
Some people have stated that I violated their “First Amendment” rights, and I strongly disagree. This is not about “First Amendment” rights; it is about utilizing the proper venue. I sincerely believe in the “First Amendment,” and further believe that this group of individuals wishing to perform this play has every right to perform it in the proper setting. However, I do not believe that it is suited for our community-oriented Cultural Arts Center. Simply put, if it is to be performed, it should be held in an appropriate venue.
Mayor, City of Carrollton, Ga.