Citadel Theatre rejects controversial professor's Edmonton book event

Jordan Peterson tweeted to his nearly 300,000 followers Tuesday the Edmonton theatre cancelled his event without explanation.

Jordan Peterson calls the decision 'unprofessional'; theatre officials say booking wasn't finalized

University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson had a rental request application for a book talk denied by the Citadel Theatre. (jordanbpeterson.com)

A controversial Canadian professor's plan to promote his latest book at the Citadel Theatre has been dashed after the theatre refused his request to rent the venue.  

Jordan Peterson, a University of Toronto psychology professor who is on an international book tour to promote 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, had already advertised on his website that the event would take place Feb. 11 in Zeidler Hall.

On Tuesday, Peterson tweeted to his nearly 300,000 followers that the Edmonton theatre cancelled his event without explanation.

In a statement to CBC News, Peterson says the Citadel Theatre's decision was "regrettable, made in haste and unprofessional."

But according to an emailed statement from the Citadel Theatre, the contract for the talk's hall booking was never finalized and Peterson made the Edmonton event announcement "prematurely."

Citadel Theatre executive director Chantell Ghosh says the theatre is not prepared to host Jordan Peterson's event. (CBC)

Executive director Chantell Ghosh says they reviewed the hall rental application but decided the lecture didn't align with their values as an organization.

She says their production season supports a variety of points of views but that private rentals are always reviewed prior to approval. 

"When it comes to renting a space, we're not controlling what that content is so we're not prepared to rent to something that is totally at odds with what we're doing at the Citadel," she said.

Advocate not surprised by Citadel's decision

Peterson, who is currently in the U.K. promoting his book, made headlines in 2016 for publicly refusing to use gender-neutral pronouns.

Concern over his upcoming talk and his public opinions were raised by transgender advocates in a Metro Edmonton article published Monday.

Peterson sent a tweet Tuesday wondering if the news article played a role in the Citadel Theatre's decision to cancel the Feb.11 lecture.

Diversity inclusion professional Marni Panas is familiar with the professor and his opinions.  

She wasn't surprised the Citadel Theatre declined the booking request.

"We as Edmontonians expect better of people who are coming in to speak and shape the minds of people," she said.​