Ryan Reynolds, the star of Deadpool, has reportedly chosen to put his money where his mouth is. The A-list celebrity is standing behind a Utah movie theater faced with the possibility of losing its liquor license for serving beer while showing the R-rated film. Brewvies, a Utah movie theater, showed Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool while serving alcoholic beverages, and one of the audience members happened to be a state investigator drinking a Bud Light.
So what’s the problem? Brewvies has a license to serve alcohol while showing movies. Unfortunately for the bar/theater, Deadpool isn’t just rated R, it features sexual content, including “several simulated sex acts,” reports KUTV 2 News. It is the combination of serving beer and the presence of the sex acts in the Ryan Reynolds film that caused Utah law to be broken on February 26.
Utah has some very, very archaic and bizarre laws related to liquor, and the law broken by Brewvies when they showed the R-rated Ryan Reynolds flick is one of them. According to Utah law, there are some very specific things that can’t go on at an establishment where alcohol is being served, even if that alcohol is being served with a valid, state-issued liquor license.
— Chris Miller (@ChrisMillerKUTV) April 18, 2016
Ryan Reynolds initially responded to the inane situation unfolding at the Utah movie theater with a tweet.
Thank god, they've found a way to legislate fun. https://t.co/vUSptxaHb9
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) April 24, 2016
However, apparently after some further reflection, Reynolds decided to help Brewvies with their legal woes. The theater is facing a fine of $25,000 for violating the law by serving liquor while showing the sexual Deadpool. In addition, UPROXX reports that the business is in danger of losing its liquor license altogether and will likely have to endure a potentially costly and lengthy legal battle to keep its doors open. Brewvies even had to launch a GoFundMe campaign to finance its uphill battle with the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, and that’s where Ryan Reynolds stepped in.
The Deadpool star reportedly donated $5,000 to the crowdfunding campaign, and he did so quietly and without drawing attention to his generosity. In fact, it was Brewvies that drew attention to Ryan Reynolds’ low-key donation, taking to their Facebook page to thank the Deadpool actor.
“Thank you Ryan Reynolds @VancityReynolds, for your support and donation of $5000! Join Ryan Reynolds and so many other awesome people who our helping us fight for our first amendment rights by contributing.”
While Ryan Reynolds brought the Brewvies Deadpool fight into the national spotlight, he’s not the only high-profile individual to be throwing their support behind the beer-serving movie theater. Rocky Anderson, the former mayor of Salt Lake City, is the attorney representing Brewvies, and he’s turning a liquor license violation case into a case about the first amendment.
According to Anderson, the Deadpool incident isn’t the first time that Utah officials have threatened the business. Brewvies was also fined after showing the film The Hangover Part II, and Anderson calls the threats and fines “unconstitutional.”
“If you can’t ban the movie in these other theaters, you can’t ban it at Brewvies, just because you serve alcohol. If they put the statue of David up on their screen or had it out in their lobby, they could be cited.”
Former mayor Anderson also said that the State of Utah is overreaching and overstepping its bounds by coming down on the theater for serving beer while showing Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool, and that when Idaho and California tried to enforce such legislation in their states, the laws were repealed. Essentially, the judges in those states whittled away the more restrictive state liquor laws and the end results were laws that closely mirror the current federal obscenity standard.
Rocky Anderson has reportedly sent a letter to the Utah Attorney General and the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control in which he calls on the State of Utah to back off of Brewvies over the incident involving Ryan Reynolds and Deadpool unless it wants to deal with a substantial first amendment lawsuit.
“This isn’t only about Brewvies first amendment rights, this is about the first amendment rights of Brewvies customers, who obviously want to see these movies. Whether alcohol is involved or not, the first amendment applies. Period.”
What do you think? Should Brewvies be punished for violating Utah law? Is Utah law even legal under the U.S. Constitution? Is Deadpool’s Ryan Reynolds the coolest guy ever for sticking by his art and the theater that got in trouble for showing his movie along with a beer?
[Image Courtesy Of Kevork Djansezian/Pool Photo via AP Photo]