A Jewish family had to flee their hometown in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, after conservative news outlets suggested they were to blame for shutting down their local school’s production of “A Christmas Carol.”
The family, which said it only asked that their child be excused from performing in the play, got spooked after the news broke on Fox News and on Breitbart. The attention sparked fears of a backlash similar to the one in which a North Carolina gunman entered the Comic Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C. after right wing sites alleged that it was home to a Hillary Clinton-led child sex ring.
“There’s no way we’re going to take a chance after the pizza incident,” the unidentified parents told LancasterOnline.
Articles in both outlets partly blamed the family for the school’s decision, though the school called that information inaccurate, writing in a statement that it had canceled the performance because it conflicted with curricular needs.
The family said that it had merely asked for their child to be excused from the performance, in which Tiny Tim says us “God bless us, everyone.” The school granted their request, but the family said their child was subsequently bullied by other classmates over the non-attendance. The family said they hoped to return home after the controversy had died down.
News of the family’s situation stirred outrage on the Internet. The news Web site Slate ran article titled, “Jewish Family Flees County After Fox News, Breitbart Falsely Blame It for Cancellation of Christmas Play.” Author Gary Shteyngart expressed more pointed sentiments, seeming to blame President-elect Donald Trump and his family for the episode. “Happy Hanukkah, Jared and Ivanka! Thank you for all your good work this year,” wrote on Twitter.
Daniel J. Solomon is the Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.