Austin mayor defends women-only ‘Wonder Woman’ showings
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Austin mayor defends women-only ‘Wonder Woman’ showings

Steve Adler hits back at letter writer who called women the 'second rate gender' after theater announced special screenings of movie starring Israeli actress

Israeli actress Gal Gadot arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Wonder Woman' at the Pantages Theatre on May 25, 2017, in Hollywood, California. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images/AFP)
Israeli actress Gal Gadot arrives at the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' 'Wonder Woman' at the Pantages Theatre on May 25, 2017, in Hollywood, California. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images/AFP)

AUSTIN — A response by the Jewish mayor of Austin, Texas, to a man’s sexist rantings over an Austin-based movie chain’s women-only screenings of “Wonder Woman,” starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot, has gone viral for its potency.

“Every once in a while you get a letter that sticks in your craw a little bit,” Mayor Steve Adler told local media on Thursday, hours after he dressed down an email writer who threatened to boycott the city after the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas in Austin and in New York City announced they would host special screenings of the much-anticipated movie about a woman superhero for women only (and guests who identify as women).

In his letter to the mayor, Richard A. Ameduri from St. Louis, Missouri wrote that the theater “pandered to the sexism typical of women” and that “the notion of a woman hero is a fine example of women’s eagerness to accept the appearance of achievement without actual achievement.”

In a fashion similar to other men who lost their minds on social media over the special screenings, Ameduri proceeded to rail against women for not serving “in combat because they are content to have an easier ride” and for “accept[ing] gold medals at the Olympics for coming in 10th and competing only against the second class of athletes.”

“Name something invented by a woman! Achievements by the second rate gender pale in comparison to virtually everything great in human history was accomplished by men, not women,” he wrote, displaying some grammatical ingenuity.

“If Austin does not host a men only counter event, I will never visit Austin and will welcome it’s deterioration,” he threatened, probably to no one’s dismay.

Ameduri clarified, “I do not hate women.”

In response, Adler, “a father of three strong independent women,” mockingly alerted Ameduri that his email account “has been hacked by an unfortunate and unusually hostile individual.”

Austin Mayor Steve Adler, June 1, 2017. (Screenshot/KVUE)
Austin Mayor Steve Adler, June 1, 2017. (Screenshot/KVUE)

“Please remedy your account’s security right away, lest this person’s uninformed and sexist rantings give you a bad name. After all, we men have to look out for each other!” he wrote.

“Can you imagine if someone thought that you didn’t know women could serve in our combat units now without exclusion? What if someone thought you didn’t know that women invented medical syringes, life rafts, fire escapes, central and solar heating, a war-time communications system for radio-controlling torpedoes that laid the technological foundations for everything from Wi-Fi to GPS, and beer?” he went on, surely satisfied but not yet done.

“You and I are serious men of substance with little time for the delicate sensitivities displayed by the pitiful creature who maligned your good name and sterling character by writing that abysmal email,” he wrote, adding that the theater, a private business, “was realizing a business opportunity by reserving one screening this weekend for women to see a superhero movie.”

Adler then wrote that should Ameduri travel to Austin one day, “please know that everyone is welcome here, even people like those who wrote that email whose views are an embarrassment to modernity, decency, and common sense.”

The response was picked up nationally and across social media as users cheered the carefully crafted clap-back.

“While it’s easy to be quiet, sometimes that silence is taken as acquiescence or even support so it’s important when you hear things like that, that you at least note that that is just way off base,” Adler explained following the national attention he received for the post.

“I think the real controversy here is that it’s taken us this long to have a movie about a superhero who’s a woman,” he said.

The Alama Drafthouse Cinema branches in New York and Austin first announced the special screenings on May 25, and following accusations of anti-men discrimination, announced they would host a second screening.

Alamo Drafthouse creative manager Morgan Hendrix told Mashable that his company was “very excited,” and that the fact that “providing an experience where women truly reign supreme has incurred the wrath of trolls only serves to deepen our belief that we’re doing something right.”

Following the criticism, Hendrix said the chain would be “expanding this program across the country and inviting women everywhere to join us as we celebrate this iconic superheroine in our theaters.”

Activists for gender equality have praised the Warner Bros. Pictures production starring Gadot. Whereas film studios have released dozens of major feature film productions centered on male superheros, only a few titles have done the same with female characters.

JTA contributed to this report.

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