UPDATE: B.C. filmmaker admits to fibbing to sell gender-based policy

Victoria premier of film used the pricing system charging white men $20, while others paid $10

VICTORIA — A man behind a “justice-pricing” policy based on charging higher admission to white males attending the screening of his movie says he used a false name to promote it because he was concerned about a backlash that could risk his safety.

Shiraz Higgins said Wednesday he has received death threats at an email account he created with the false name Sid Mohammed and admitted he used the pseudonym in an interview with The Canadian Press a day earlier.

“I’ve been wanting to have a layer of safety between me and angry citizens in order to keep the tension from being completely locked in on me,” he said, adding he feels “silly” for using a false name.

“I feel bad that it’s clearly made some people upset and that it has undermined the overall message that we’re sending out here,” said Higgins, who is also the director of “Building the Room.”

“It’s clearly become very heated,” he said of the response, adding the policy was not about “retribution or putting white men in their place or something like.”

However, Higgins, 27, said organizers of the premiere are sticking to their justice-pricing model to charge white males $15, while others pay $10 based on the purchasing power of individual groups and “price discrimination.”

The 70-minute documentary-style movie is a behind-the-scenes look at comedians putting on a stand-up show, he said.

“This is not a publicity stunt,” he said, adding organizers are “pushing forward because we believe it is an important piece of overall conversation that is happening in society right now.”

Higgins said while there has been criticism, he has also heard from women who said they pay more than men for goods and services, including hair cuts and hygienic and cosmetic products.

Organizers are considering “adaptations” to better reflect the reality of prices, but couldn’t say if they would be changed, he said.

No one from the 225-seat Roxy Theatre where the movie is scheduled to be shown on Sept. 28 could be reached for comment.

Any profits from the door will be donated to the Native Friendship Centre of Victoria and the Victoria Pride Society, Higgins said.

He said the movie was funded by Telus Optik, which supports local filmmakers with grants.

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