In November, Jenny Heinz, an avid performance goer, attached an eight-by-eleven sign to the back of her jacket that reads: “No! In the name of humanity we refuse to accept a fascist America!”
Earlier this month, Lincoln Center would not admit Heinz to a Budapest Festival performance at David Geffen Hall, because she refused to remove the sign from her jacket, Colin Moynihan of the New York Times reports. Despite wanting to attend the event, Heinz forfeited her ticket to keep the sign, saying it was a matter of “freedom of expression.”
While Lincoln Center did not directly address the incident, it released a statement that reads: “Lincoln Center’s founding mission is to bring the world’s greatest artists to the broadest possible audience. Every day we strive to provide an environment that cultivates the special and uninterrupted connection between a diverse array of performers and patrons, enabling a multitude of curated experiences for our 6.5 million annual visitors and artists.”
In a meeting arranged by civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel, Heinz confronted Lincoln Center officials and was told by Peter Flamm, vice president for concert halls and operations, that signs are not permitted inside the facility as well as outside on the plaza.
A lawyer representing Lincoln Center informed Siegel that Heinz would not have been turned away if the words were printed on her clothing or featured on a button, thus highlighting inconsistencies about what can be classified as a potential disturbance to a performance.
Policies enforced at other institutions vary. While signs and banners are not allowed at Radio City Music Hall, Synneve Carlino, a spokeswoman for Carnegie Hall, said it had no specific policy on signs and that incidents would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.