UPDATE to UPDATE: The original outlet that reported on and quoted the family’s remarks about the incident stands by its story. The family may have left town a day earlier than planned.
UPDATE: The Antidefamation League is reporting that the family went out of town on a previously scheduled vacation. It is unclear why, if that is the case, the original news reports cited them as having pulled their son from school and quoted a family member mentioned “pizzagate” as their reason for leaving. ——————
A production of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” which has been a holiday tradition in Lancaster, PA, for 30 years, was canceled because of the time required to put it on, but Breitbart and Fox blamed the cancellation on a local Jewish family. The result? The family has had to flee their home and town because of persecution. In 2016. In the United States.
Both Breitbart and Fox played the story as part of the “war on Christmas” (see, there are real wars, impending wars, and wars that people just make up so that they can feel like martyrs), claiming that the problem was the line “God bless us, every one,” and that the Jewish family was to blame for having complained. The family had simply asked back in September if their son could be excused from participating.
Had they requested that the play should not be performed at all, that would be an entirely different discussion, but still not something warranting threats. We are not sure what would warrant threats, exactly, as not threatening people with whom we disagree would presumably be an implicit expectation among those interested in a civilized, respectful society.
The school decided to cancel the play in November because of the intensive investment in time it required, and the boy began to experience harassment at school. After seeing doxx threats on Breitbart, the parents decided to pull their boy from school and leave the area. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the school also had to field 200 or more complaints after Fox and Breitbart aired their “war on Christmas” claims about it.
A reminder that this play is based on a short novel by Charles Dickens. It’s not biblical, it includes talking spirits and hauntings and other things that probably aren’t terribly canonical Christanity-wise, and it focuses on issues of class, work laws, generosity, bitterness of spirit, how our personal histories shape us, and empathy. Not a bad play to have in any season.