An Overview of the Sean Neely Incident

Since I’m going to be writing about this, I thought I should provide an overview for any outsiders who happen to stumble across my site.

A performer named Sean Neely was originally selected in the Minnesota Fringe lottery but later had his slot revoked. He sued the festival for consumer fraud because the Fringe advertises itself as “uncensored and uncurated.”

Only two media outlets that I know of covered the story, MPR and City Pages. The City Pages article quotes me, although the quotes are not 100 percent accurate. I told the reporter that about half of my friends were defending the Fringe and half were supporting Neely; this somehow got turned into half of my friends calling Neely “brilliant” and the other half calling him a scumbag. I did say that a couple of my friends described Neely as brilliant and one called him a creepy douchebag, but most people, myself included, have never met him or seen his work, but are responding instead to the issue of censorship and/or potential lawbreaking.

Bill Stiteler also wrote an opinion piece for Minnesota Playlist. My favorite line: “Clear and present danger… does not refer, in my opinion, to the psychic safety of the audience to be exposed to ideas they might hate.”

I spliced together the original complaint and the Fringe’s response to make it more readable, and the originals of both are included as Attachments A and B in Neely’s subsequent Motion for Judgment.