COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Opinions are flaring on local social media after an inflammatory open mic night at a Columbus community theater.
Described as “a weekly uncensored evening of original performance” the No Shame Theatre is popular with many young people in Columbus. The events showcase comedy, rap, dance, or anything other talents participants wish to show and anyone can sign up to perform.
But on Friday, some attendees say things went too far. A performer reportedly merged coarse language, sexual references, and religion.
Now, the weekly event has been suspended indefinitely while the incident is being investigated.
One of Friday’s attendees took to Facebook writing that he left the theater after hearing the performer. He then went up to an employee to share his disappointment and was told if he didn’t like what was presented, he should not return.
His post has almost 450 shares and over 2,000 comments.
According to their website, No Shame Theatre only has three rules: all acts have to be original material, the acts have to be performed in five minutes or less, and the performer can’t break anything, including themselves, the space, or the law.
Paul Pierce, the producing artistic director at the Springer Opera House, said he is as committed to No Shame Theatre now as he has ever been. He called the event a “voice to the voiceless,” and said they are just taking a pause to reassess some things, including the customer service aspect of Friday’s event.
Pierce said he hopes to have the event back up and running soon.
Across the city there are mixed feelings about the inflammatory event.
“I was just appalled,” said Brenda James, a Columbus resident who heard about what happened on social media. “I think it’s uncalled for, especially in the context of a community-supported theater.”
Others around Columbus have different ideas.
“You have to expect that going to an open mic night where there’s a lot of comedy that something might offend you,” said Abby Tomlinson, a Columbus State University student.
Some even said it’s a violation of free speech.
“I think it’s a bit unfair because of our first amendment. I think it’s unjust to shut down an entire thing because one person said it,” said Zeb Kosobucki, a Columbus resident.
“I believe in free speech," she one local resident "I want to say what I want to say. But it’s all about the time and the place and your audience.”