Two Lancaster County theaters cancel pro-Mastriano right-wing film premieres


A movie theater and hotel have canceled screenings of a film that pushes debunked COVID conspiracy theories and makes the case for Sen. Pa. Doug Mastriano’s run for governor.


  • Robby Brode

State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin), the Republican 2022 gubernatorial nominee, addresses a crowd gathered for a rally celebrating William Penn in the rotunda of the state Capitol in Harrisburg on July 1 2022.

Sam Dunklau / WITF

State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin), the Republican 2022 gubernatorial nominee, addresses a crowd gathered for a rally celebrating William Penn in the rotunda of the state Capitol in Harrisburg on July 1 2022.

The trailer for “Return of the American Patriot: The Rise of Pennsylvania” claims that the state government has used the lockdown to assert control over its residents.

“Once you give freedoms like that,” said one woman, “it’s very hard to get them back.”

She was referring to mask mandates, which have been proven to have reduces the spread of COVID-19. Pa mask warrant. was lifted June 28, 2021.

The film also compares the rioters of the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 to the heroes of the Revolutionary War fighting against a tyrannical government. Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf is portrayed as a bully.

Penn Ketchum, owner of Penn Cinema in Lititz, said he canceled the film’s premiere last week after learning of its “populist nationalist agenda”. The director of the film has threatened to sue Ketchum, citing 400 ticket sales and a scheduled appearance by Mastriano.

The Wyndham Lancaster Resort and Convention Center was then booked for the event, but was also canceled afterwards, according to a Facebook post from Steve Turley, the director.

The film features interviews with right-wing groups who champion debunked conspiracy theories and conservative politicians, including Mastriano.

Mastriano used his social media pages and other public forums to spread misinformation about COVID vaccines and the 2020 election. His support for Donald Trump’s voter fraud lie included hosting a committee meeting policy that gave Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani a platform to spread conspiracy theories. He used campaign dollars to charter buses with thousands of supporters in Washington, D.C. on January 6, and was seen crossing police lines outside the Capitol as the attack unfolded.

Mastriano maintains that he broke no law and never entered the Capitol during the riot.

Mastriano is running for governor against Democratic Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. In the months following the attack on the Capitol on January 6, Shapiro’s office defeated at least 40 trials filed by Trump alleging election fraud against the state.

For more information on Mastriano and Shapiro’s position on election security issues in Pennsylvania, Click here.


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