Emagine Royal Oak postpones Juneteenth Film Festival after AG threatens criminal charges

Emagine Royal Oak to host film festival showcasing Black actors, directors and writers
Emagine Royal Oak to host film festival showcasing Black actors, directors and writers

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – Emagine Royal Oak has postponed its Juneteenth Film Festival after they said Emagine’s chairman, Paul Glantz, was given a letter from the Attorney General’s Office threatening to bring criminal charges against him if the film festival proceeded as planned.

The film festival was to benefit the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and has been indefinitely postponed. It was originally scheduled for Friday. People who purchased tickets will be refunded. The second festival stie is in Minneapolis, MN and is expected to still hold a festival.

READ: Emagine Royal Oak to host film festival showcasing Black actors, directors and writers

“Four days after news of the event was brought to the attention of state officials, Emagine’s Chairman, Paul Glantz, was today served at his home with a letter from the Attorney General’s office advising that it would bring criminal charges against him if he proceeded with the film festival as planned,” a news release said.

“The hypocrisy of our Governor’s orders is unfathomable in magnitude.  Strip clubs are open, massage parlors are open, and yet there is alleged ‘science and data’ to support the continued closure of movie theaters. It is okay to walk arm and arm with folks in Highland Park for a photo op in violation of social distancing guidelines, but we allegedly pose a threat to the life and safety of our guests.  If there is anything more arbitrary and capricious in governmental behavior, I certainly haven’t experienced it in my lifetime,” Glantz said.

“Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-110 Paragraph 15 explicitly provides ‘nothing in this order shall be taken to abridge protections guaranteed by the state or federal constitution under these emergency circumstances.’  Under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution Emagine’s guests are guaranteed the right to peaceably assemble in the absence of a rational justification to preempt such rights.  Indeed, we have undertaken extensive efforts to ensure public safety as outlined in a comprehensive submitted to the Governor’s office for review.  Sadly, we have received absolutely no feedback on our reopening plan.  It has apparently been ignored or dismissed without consideration. We find this wrongful abuse of governmental power appalling, and we will be seeking legal redress to prevent it from occurring in the future,” Glantz said. “To our friends at UNCF, we continue to believe in the benefits this Film Festival can bring to the community.  We look forward to the partnership we have established with UNCF to raise money, and to support, educate, and empower black youth in our communities. The Royal Oak show will go on at a later date.”


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Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.