Utah Theatre Director Zaps Homophobic Patron Upset Over Gay Kiss in Play: VIDEO

In response Lino issued the following response and shared it on Facebook:


I received your e-mail, and am sorry that you were offended by the kissing scene.

We did not include the scene in the content advisory for two reasons:

1. It is indeed a major plot revelation in a murder mystery that relies entirely on plot twists for suspense, revealing the motive for the murder that has just occurred; to include it would have revealed a plot point that would have spoiled the show for patrons.

Deathtrap2. I did not think it rose to the level of requiring an advisory. You describe the content as “edgy,” and there are indeed times we do produce edgier material (this year’s Other Desert Cities or last season’s Clybourne Park come to mind, for which I believe we go to great pains to provide content advisories), but in this day and age I hardly think Deathtrap, a forty year old play, or a brief kiss by two men (there is no other sexual activity of any kind in the play) qualifies as edgy.

I have to ask, and I do so in all sincerity: In putting on Deathtrap, we are “play acting,” and in this particular play we show two characters carrying out a cold-blooded murder, and then we show them kissing as the motivation for the murder. You object to the kissing, but not to the fact that they’re murderers? You are comfortable with your son witnessing an enacted murder, but not a same sex kiss? In both cases, it’s just make-believe, but how is a play that depicts murder, whether it’s a contemporary murder-mystery like Deathtrap or an immortal tragedy like Macbeth, morally acceptable while the depiction of a fairly innocuous, albeit same-sex kiss, is totally unacceptable? The script doesn’t ask you to condone either the murder or the kiss; despite what you imply, we’re not promoting a homosexual agenda in producing Deathtrap; if anything, since the two characters who kiss are the villains of the piece, the kiss becomes part of their villainy, and both characters get their comeuppance in the second act.

Based on your letter, I anticipate that I might receive several more on this subject. (I half expect to get other letters of complaint from other patrons who accuse the play of “gay bashing” by revealing the character’s murderous impulses to be a function of their homosexuality—I’ve learned in twenty-three years that there’s nothing we can do that won’t offend somebody). Even if that happens—even if I get twenty letters– the vast majority of our patrons will enjoy the show and regard the kissing “reveal” as a shocking but satisfying plot twist. In that circumstance—if the majority of our patrons don’t feel “betrayed” by our not mentioning the kiss—I would not tell you you’re wrong to be offended, but I would ask you to consider who we’re writing the advisories for: the 80-90% of our patrons who aren’t offended by the element in question, or the 10-20% who are?

In any event, I don’t expect to persuade you to my point of view, even if I don’t understand yours. Clearly, for you, the depiction of a same sex kiss is offensive—you use the word “repulsive”– and you are right that we did not warn you that that would be in the play.

On that basis, I will be glad to refund you the price of your tickets to Deathtrap and will instruct my Patron Services Manager to process a refund.

I will not refund your tickets for Sweet Charity. You are free to use them yourself, give them away, or return them to the theatre for a tax deductible donation.

It sounds as if you have been unhappy with many of our productions, since you write that you’ve wasted many tickets over the past few seasons by not attending plays that you describe as offensive and vulgar, and it sounds as though you wish to discontinue your association with the theatre.

On your instructions, I will advise our marketing and box office staffs to place a “Do Not Contact” note on your records, and will release your season tickets for sale for next season. I always hate to lose a patron, but it is, I’ve found, better to lose a patron than risk betraying her trust and offending her repeatedly, something we have apparently done in your case.

Chris Lino

Prior to receiving the patron’s letter, the theater company had received only two or three similar complaints. At the time of his post’s writing, Lino’s Facebook post with the letter and his response has 1,068 likes, 265 shares and 346 comments (most of them in support of Lino’s reply).

(via The Bilerico Project)


  1. john patrick says

    All I can say is that the letter writer has some major, major problems. Hope her teenage son is not gay, with a parent like this.

  2. Jaysonn says

    This woman needs to know that her teenaged son has seen a lot more than that at the grocery store and at school, unless he lives in a complete bubble. Idiot women.

  3. Paul B. says

    Nothing says “wackjob” louder than a tirade like this. Someone needs to be put out of their misery.

  4. Jason Macbride says

    It’s not exactly a secret that Deathtrap contains a kiss between two guys. The 1982 movie with Christopher Reeve and Michael Caine certainly had one. Well, as the old saying goes, “Entering Utah, Set Clock Back 30 years.”

  5. jjose712 says

    She is a lover of theatre and she didn’t know deathtrap plot?
    Sorry but i don’t buy that

  6. BETTY says

    I think her son has seen way much worse on network television or the internet. She cluthces her pearls over the kiss, but says nothing of the murder and violence. Ugh.

  7. Howard B says

    Someone who is so filled with anti-gay hate, who doesn’t appreciate the “plot twist” that this kiss provides is beyond help. She should stay away from ALL theaters, movies, TV, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet, or else she is going to be very unhappy for the rest of her life.

  8. BETTY says

    Jaysonn: for a minute we thought you were channeling Rick and his anti-women stance! Lol

  9. Mary says

    All this fuss over a kiss on the cheek? Does this woman know what is being put on TV today? Wait till she sees two men engaging in mouth to mouth kissing on TV – and finds that they actually have chemistry together! Oops! That will mark the beginning of the end of her homophobia. Could it be that this is what’s really upsetting her? Some guys kiss girls, some guys kiss guys. Even the people in Utah will have to accept this eventually.

  10. Art says

    What a MOMO Nazi… I was in Salt Lake, at the intersection of State and University, Washington Square. There was a black man wanking off at the corner, by the buss stop, during rush hour. NO ONE PAID ANY ATTENTION! So that stupid cow is all upset about a single kiss! She should drive to almost any area between the air port and the lake if she really wants to get upset! Or just to the rest rooms at ZCMI for that matter.

  11. greenfuzz says

    Sure she doesn’t get upset easily. A kiss on the cheek? Give me a break and go take a zanax lady!

  12. says

    So the subscriber is pissed about a kiss between two characters of the same gender, but doesn’t seem too fazed by the act of matricide which precedes that kiss. Nice to know people have their priorities in order.

  13. Buster says

    Enough about the obviously religion-crazed patron. How about some cheering for the terrific response by Lino!!

  14. Leroy Laflamme says

    She wants a refund for her Sweet Charity tickets too. I guess she must have just heard ‘Hey Big Spender’…

  15. DC Insider says

    She obviously decided to leave her daughter “Carrie” at home, who had plans to attend the prom anyway.

  16. Al Eugene says

    Stop the apologies. Lino might have attempted tactfulness here but I resent the comparison of homosexuality to murder as though one is the lesser of the two. Who cares if it’s theater? There’s nothing wrong with gay people. That’s the bigger issue.

  17. james st. james says

    Sometimes when things don’t make sense on the surface of it one must look a little deeper, like Freud. She was probably terribly embarrassed by her son’s reaction. See, it’s always about a penis, or penis envy. Or, maybe it was his big smile. Or both?

    Erection, reaction, redaction. One thing leads to another.

  18. calansf says

    As a woman who “love[s] the theatre” and “support[s] the ARTS,” she must certainly know that a large portion of the playwrights, directors, actors, etc. whose works she has been enjoying are gay, right?

  19. In The Other Eye says

    Dear Madam:

    Please accept my apologies, and as a token of my sincerity please find enclosed two front-row tickets to our upcoming production of “The Book of Mormon”, which I’m sure you will find more in tune with your theatrical tastes. See you on opening night, and Hasa Diga Eebowai!

  20. ToThePoint says

    I find it highly offensive that she finds us offensive and vulgar. A very miserable person who surely shares it with anyone who is within earshot her. Or being exposed to her ideaology online.

  21. Bob says

    I actually thought that Mr. Lino handled the situation quite well, difficult when dealing with a crazy patron. The theatre’s website did state in advisories that if it were a movie it would be rated PG-13 — and she still took her child (her words not mine.)

  22. JackFknTwist says

    Me.Lino must be one of the most patient men I have ever read about.
    My reaction would have been more volatile.

  23. cminca says

    The movie, with Christopher Reeve playing the younger “villain” came out in 1982.

    At the time (at the very front end of the AIDS epidemic) there had been a number of celebrity “coming out” stories.

    I think it was Time or Newsweek that was reported that, at one of the early screenings, when Christopher Reeve kissed Michael Caine, a patron at one theater in New York stood up and cried out–

    “Not you too Superman!”


  24. Bill says

    I think the theater manager should send the poor thing a nice letter:

    Dear Madam:

    To paraphrase Lenin, you can’t make art without breaking eggs.


    The Management

  25. Randy says

    That’s a zapping?

    I would have given the complaint the attention it wad due: next to none.

    I would have refunded Sweet Charity, which the complainer hasn’t attended yet.

    I absolutely would NOT have refunded any ticket for which a patron sat through the full first Act and decided in the final minute that they didn’t like that particular minute, even though it was acted correctly.

    And I would have fired her as a customer. “Do not contact” would become “Do not sell to”. Nobody talks about my audience and my actors that way.

  26. jexerer says

    Excellent response. chances are the complainer didn’t have a problem with the kiss… just wanted to see if she could get her money back for something already paid for.

    Some peeps is just crazy.

  27. Bernie says

    it is obvious that the reaction of this woman is over the top…..is it that her religious views match her anger/fears? or is she fearful her teenage son may be gay? or does she fear that this 1/10th of a second kiss gives her son ideas/recruiting??!?!?

  28. UFFDA says

    That son of hers? If he has any spirit of his own watch the dust trail rise as he runs as fast as he can, when he can.

  29. NotSafeForWork says

    The complaint letter is the textbook example of pearl clutching and faux outrage.

  30. Mitch says

    Teenage son enjoys going to theatre with pearl-clutching Mummy? I smell the cause of her misplaced fear.

  31. Tyler says

    Styler, there are no coincidences. You and Rick (and his dozens of aliases) are always going on and on about how straight women are the true enemy of LGBT progress. That isn’t a coincidence. You two are he same woman-hating troll.

    We’re you abused by women growing up or something?

  32. Tyler says

    Styler, there are no coincidences. You and Rick (and his dozens of aliases) are always going on and on about how straight women are the true enemy of LGBT progress. That isn’t a coincidence. You two are he same woman-hating troll.

    We’re you abused by women growing up or something?

  33. Fred Lanns says

    Love her big-world, big-human thinking.

    (Why don’t Mormons have sex standing up? Because people might think they’re dancing.)

  34. Matt says

    How exactly did he “zap” her, per the headline? He wrote her a quite polite and respectful letter, offering to refund her ticket price. I read nothing in his letter that was a “zap”.

    I do have a question, though. Did one man actually kiss the other on the cheek in the play? If so, why the upset? Kissing on the mouth by the same sex is (possibly) homosexual, at least in the U.S. In Europe it’s not at all unusual among close friends or family members.Kissing on the cheeck, however, is not uncommon even in the U.S. For a man to kiss a man on the cheek, or a woman to kiss a woman, is just a gesture of affection. Heck, again in Europe many people greet each other with a kiss on the cheek in most countries. If she really finds it that disgusting, she’d better never leave the country.