‘Stranger Things’ Star Canceled Over Escalating Threats, “Safety Risk”

in Television

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Credit: Inside the Magic

One of the stars of Stranger Things has had yet another public appearance canceled after it was deemed a “safety risk” unacceptable for the venue’s staff and audience.

Bret Gelman on a couch in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

Brett Gelman has portrayed conspiracy theorist Murray Bauman since Stranger Things season 2, finally being bumped up to full cast member in season 4. Although the show has produced numerous younger breakout stars in actors like Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, and Joe Keery, Gelman is one of the few adult actors to have made a major impact on audiences with his unhinged, yet curiously personable character.

The cast of Stranger Things in a mall
Credit: Netflix

Despite that, Brett Gelman has had a March 27 book reading at the Los Angeles institution Book Soup canceled, reportedly for security reasons. Gelman is currently touring to promote his short story collection, The Terrifying Realm of the Possible: Nearly True Stories, but has repeatedly had appearances canceled, including at Book Passage in San Francisco and The Book Stall in Winnetka, Illinois.

Related: ‘Stranger Things’ Lead Begs Upset Fans to Start Petition After Season 5 Update

The book’s publisher, Del Rey, released a statement saying “The store has seen an uptick in angry calls and emails. Although the store had planned to hire additional security and is aware that Brett was planning to bring his own security too, Book Soup does not feel like they can keep Brett, their staff, and attendees safe.”

Bret Gelman with Natalia Dyer and Charlie Heaton in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

Meanwhile, Book Soup posted its own announcement on Twitter, stating, “It is disappointing and distressing to see the motivation for our recent event cancellation grossly mischaracterized. The cancellation of the Brett Gelman event was entirely a question of safety. We made every effort to continue the event (requiring tickets, evaluating venues), but in the end, the safety of the author, our staff, and attendees took precedent. The threats and expressed concerns had escalated, and amidst the current charged environment the event had become a safety risk we were not willing to take.”

Although neither Del Rey nor Book Soup addressed it directly, it can be inferred that Brett Gelman’s strongly voiced pro-Israel stance during the current conflict in Gaza is related to the cancelation. While the former venue did not describe the threats made, Gelman himself has directly connected them to his identity as a Jewish man, while others have described the situation as a “barrage of antisemitic [sic] threats.”

Pop culture as widely varied as Star Wars, Bluey, and the upcoming Superman movie have all been affected by the Gaza conflict and Israel’s continued bombardment of the area, and it is unlikely that protestors on both sides will stop any time.

A stormtrooper holds a sign that says "The Empire Did Nothing Wrong" in front of someone holding an Israeli flag.
Credit: Screenshot via @probablyreadit on X (formerly Twitter)

Brett Gelman told Los Angeles, “It’s hurtful on the level of it happening to my book, but it’s also traumatic in terms of like, what is my standing in the world? The fact that [Book Soup] are backing down for whatever reason they are allowing this to happen is something that I never thought I would ever experience. I never thought that I would be discriminated against in such an aggressive way because of the fact that I’m Jewish.”

Related: Millie Bobby Brown is No Longer Eleven from ‘Stranger Things’, Director Confirms

Noah Schnapp looking shocked in Stranger Things
Credit: Netflix

He is not the only cast member of Stranger Things to have generated controversy over their support of Israel during the “current charged environment.” Noah Schnapp, one of the lead actors of the hit Netflix show, was “canceled” by many after he expressed pro-Israel sentiment, a situation only compounded by an apparent attempt to defuse the controversy via a Tiktok video.

Gelman continued, describing the canceled appearance as due to “[T]he screams of bullies. Maybe they’re worried that a gang is going to, you know, march outside and maybe throw a trash can through the window, but I had said that was not going to happen. I was going to provide enough security to make sure that wasn’t going to happen.”

Do you think Brett Gelman’s appearances are being canceled because of his pro-Israel beliefs? Let us know in the comments below.

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