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Actor Brett Gelman’s book event in Winnetka canceled


A locally based Hollywood actor has expressed disappointment over the cancellation of a planned show for his new book in Winnetka, which he believes is linked to his support for the State of Israel.

Brett Gelman, who grew up in Highland Park, was scheduled to appear at The Book Stall in March as part of his nationwide book tour promoting “The Terrible Land of the Possible.” It is the first book by actor/comedian/author Gelman, known for his acting roles in a variety of television shows, including the BBC series “Fleabag” and Netflix’s “Stranger Things.”

Gelman’s book is full of short stories in which characters manage to cope with the complex situations life throws at them.

“Some concerns have been brought to our attention indicating that this event will be more controversial than we as a small business can handle,” Stephanie Hochschild, owner of The Book Stall, wrote in an email.

Gelman, who is Jewish, believes the cancellation was due to his open support for Israel since the war began last October and there were fears of protests.

He emphasized that the book has nothing to do with the war in the Middle East.

“Even so, it should be my right to talk about it,” he said in an interview with the Pioneer Press.

Gelman called the action “unfortunate.”

“There might have been a conversation about me providing security,” he said.

He was dismayed when he told friends and relatives in the area who had planned to see him in person at the Winnetka show that it would not go ahead.

“It was heartbreaking for them, and it breaks my heart and makes me even angrier,” she said.

This was not an isolated incident. A bookstore in San Francisco also canceled Gelman’s concert. According to the actor’s spokesman, several other shows planned around the country also remained on the schedule.

Hochschild explained that two of the three bookstores that agreed to host the actor canceled their events for similar reasons.

“That said, we have supported Jewish writers and writers from many walks of life throughout our proud 75-year history. Starting in late March, we will feature Brett Gelman’s book as new releases,” Hochschild added. “Anti-Semitism or hatred of any kind has no place at The Book Stall.”

Winnetka Deputy Police Chief Dylan Majcher said he was not aware of any specific threats to The Book Stall related to Gelman’s planned appearance.

Gelman’s spokesperson added that they are working to add another date in the Chicago area, with details likely to be announced soon.

Gelman emphasized that he wanted to confront those who criticized him after the cancellations.

“I will not back down against these people,” he said. “The minute you do that, they win. They are bullies through and through.

Daniel I. Dorfman is a freelance reporter for the Pioneer Press.


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