On March 30, 1982 a man named John Hinckley attempted to assassinate former US President Ronald Reagan. Hinckley pleaded insanity and was found not guilty and sentenced to serve time in an asylum. In April 2016, Hinckley was released from the hospital and allowed to live with his mother. This allowed him to pick up creative hobbies like painting and music.
On December 11, 2020, Hinckley posted his first single "Majesty of Love" on YouTube. The video has received around 300,000 views. A year later he posted on Twitter that he was launching his music career on Spotify and YouTube to which he received multiple comments with confusion, most commenters bringing up his attempted assassination of the president.
Hinckley Tweeted on April 6, 2022, that he was going on a redemption tour starting in the summer and ending in the fall of 2022. Two days later he announced his first show would be at the Market Hotel in Brooklyn New York.
Big news!! I will be performing on July 8 at the Market Hotel in Brooklyn, NY. Get your tickets while you can.— John Hinckley (@JohnHinckley20) April 8, 2022
The venue immediately started receiving backlash for booking Hinckley.
One Twitter user commented, "Lol they didn’t let ariel pink play there."
Market Hotel replied, "Hinckley served 40 years in prison /mental health treatment, paid his debt to society, acknowledged and expressed contrition for his crimes, and was suffering mental health issues that affected his reasoning and consciousness of his own actions. Whereas Ariel Pink is an asshole."
Due to this backlash, the Market Street Hotel decided to cancel its show with Hinckley. They posted a long explanation on Instagram stating the reasons for canceling the show but reiterating the point that he had served his time and was reformed. They wanted to have "an interesting gathering and a memorable night," but realized people were not as welcoming as they were.
Hinckley had a brief reply saying he wanted to play at a venue that doesn't "cave when there's backlash" and that he replaced the New York venue with one in Texas.
I’m looking for a music venue that won’t cave when there’s backlash.— John Hinckley (@JohnHinckley20) June 22, 2022
I think I have lined up a venue in Texas that won’t cave. More later.— John Hinckley (@JohnHinckley20) June 24, 2022
Hinckley's history may actually lend itself to a music career. While many feel that his assassination attempt can never be redeemed, others might believe this could be an opportunity to see something interesting like the Market Hotel mentioned.
Many people with mental illness turn to creative endeavors to ease their mental anguish and Hinckley is no different. Whether you support or admonish the man, it seems he will continue his pursuit of music with or without anyone's opinions.