Plymouth’s Flying Monkey will show anti-Obama documentary, ‘2016: Obama’s America,’ on Sunday
An anti-President Obama documentary will play Sunday at the Flying Monkey in Plymouth despite several protests from local Democrats, said Alex Ray, owner of the Flying Monkey and the Common Man restaurant chain.
Ray made clear that neither he nor the business is endorsing the film. The Pemi-Baker Republicans are renting the space to screen the film, called 2016: Obama’s America. Ray made the decision to take the name of the film off the business’s marquee when he began receiving backlash last Sunday but did not think it would be right to revoke the use of the space.
“I’ve made a conscious decision to allow this film to be shown, and it’s a done deal,” he said.
The film, which has been shown in other theaters across the state, is a documentary made by conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, based on his bestseller by the same name. The film explores Obama’s past, including his father’s anticolonialist views, and paints Obama as an anti-American president who is waiting for a second term to radically change the country.
When promotion of the film went on the theater’s marquee Sunday, several people began contacting Ray with concerns. Ray said he has never received backlash against films before they screen, but he stressed that all of the feedback was courteous and respectful. Paul Phillips, acting chairman of the Plymouth Area Democrats, sent out an email saying people could contact Ray with concerns about the film. Phillips said he spoke with Ray, who was seeking out feedback, before sending the email. “We are very troubled that Alex Ray would agree to show this hateful film on the eve of the national election, when there is no opportunity for a broader discussion of the film and no ability to offer any response to the viewing public,” the email said. “We are hoping Alex will reconsider this terrible decision.”
Phillips said he respects Ray’s decision to continue showing the film. It serves as a distraction, however, to Democrats who want to focus on the election, Phillips said.
“It’s a distraction for people who are working on the campaign to have to talk to Alex and to other people,” he said. The showing of the film “created a conversation in Plymouth, and I think that our point was the most important conversation to have is about the election and not about a movie.”
Members of the Pemi-Baker Republican Committee could not be reached for comment.
Ray said he was not even aware the controversial film would be showing until it went up on the marquee Sunday. The Flying Monkey allows a variety of organizations, from environmental groups to educational groups and even comedians to use or rent the space, and he said he did not feel it would be appropriate to halt a screening of the film. When the Pemi-Baker Republican Committee contacted him about showing a film, he said he did not even ask what it was about. “I could have, 50 days ago, inquired and said show it to me,” he said. “But I don’t ask the comedian what he’s going to say.”