Investigating a Disturbance at Maine Pagan Pride Day

Earlier today, I ran across the CCL of Maine’s statement that they were removed from Main Pagan Pride Day this past Sunday. The CCL’s comments included accusations of censorship:

League Executive Director Michael Heath remarked, “These same pagans who cling to the First Amendment for their freedom of religion, trample upon it by rejecting freedom of the press. Their audacity and hypocrisy is at the same time stunning and pathetic.”

Jason Pitzl-Waters addresses these claims quite well with a brief civics lesson:

The First Amendment right concerning Free Speech, and a Free Press, doesn’t mean that a (perhaps hostile) reporter can’t be ejected from private property, even if an event on private property is a “public” one. Freedom of the Press was enshrined to prevent governmental censorship or reprisal.

Being curious about the incident and concerned about the possible misrepresentation of the situation on the part of the CCL of Maine, I contacted the coordinators of MPPD. Richard Vinton was kind enough to respond to my inquiry. He assured me that despite my own doubts about that aspect of the CCL’s claims, MPPD made no attempt to restrict what photographs could be taken. Indeed, Richard included in his email the same disclaimer that the CCL displays on their site, verifying it’s legitimacy.

However, Richard went on to explain that Mr. Hein was asked to leave for taking pictures:

He [w]as asked to leave because he was causing a
disturbance. He entered a workshop that was already in session and began
taking photos of the class members and interrupting the instructor. He
misrepresented himself as a member of the press but holds no press
credentials and it became very clear the he intended to continue being a
disturbance.

Given the CCL’s documented past of encouraging harassment and resorting to misrepresentation, it is not hard to believe Richard’s indication that Mr. Hein was activel creating a disturbance. It is perfectly reasonable that the MPPD organizers and security would choose to eject someone for such inappropriate and rude actions.

Richard also speaks highly of how well the situation was actually handled:

What should be noted is the fast and professional response
by our team of Guardians. This entire incident lasted no longer then 10
minutes and very few people in attendance had any idea it took place
before the misleading story on the CCL web page.

I’m inclined to consider this excellent news indeed.

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