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GOP Florida Rep. wants to punish venues that cancel entertainers over politics, social media posts

A state representative from Navarre filed the "Right to Rock Act" bill shortly after his own classic rock cover band got trolled on Eventbrite.
Credit: Melinda Nagy - stock.adobe.com
FILE: Concert

NAVARRE, Fla. — A Republican Florida state representative from Navarre has filed House Bill 15, also known as "The Right to Rock Act", which would make it illegal for entertainment venues to cancel shows because of a performer's politics or social media posts.

According to the News Service of Florida, the restrictions would apply to venues that accept state funding, and it would affect their contracts with performers like musicians, comedians, dancers and actors.

There aren't many recent reported instances of such cancellations happening in Florida. Though notably, the Pensacola Christian College canceled a concert by renowned acapella group The King's Singers back in February allegedly due to the LGBTQ+ identity of some of the group's members.

Otherwise, the most recent instance of a conservative performer being canceled over politics and social media appears to have happened in Birmingham, Alabama when the Avondale Brewing Company canceled a concert by Ted Nugent after the announcement of his appearance triggered heavy backlash on the venue's social media pages.

As other media outlets, including WKRG, have reported, the bill's sponsor, Florida Rep. Joel Rudman, appears to have filed the bill out of self-interest. 

Rudman plays in a classic rock cover band that was recently on a tour called the "God, Guns and Less Government Tour," but he complained on a Facebook post that "woke mob liberals" were trying to "cancel" him by trolling his band's Eventbrite page with fake names and addresses.

His accusations elicited the following response from Santa Rosa County Democrats:

"You’re not that important. Our job is to expose what little you do for our county, we could care less about your guitar career."

According to reporting from the Tampa Bay Times, Rudman, who is also a medical doctor, sponsored a bill in this year's legislative session called "The Protections of Medical Conscience Act", a bill that would allow medical doctors to refuse service to LGBTQ+ patients due to religious views.

Florida's 2024 legislative session will start in January.

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