A West End theatre cancelled a fundraiser for an Israeli university featuring writer Douglas Murray following an alleged "campaign of intimidation" by anti-Israel protesters.
The fundraiser switched venues after the email addresses of the theatre’s employees were reportedly leaked by an employee.
Apollo Theatre, owned by Nimax Theatres, was supposed to host the conversation between Murray and actress Louisa Clein – which was in aid of students at Technion who also serve in the IDF – but Nimax pulled out hours before the event was due to go ahead.
Initially, Apollo Theatre told organisers that they did not have enough staff for the Sunday evening shift after employees objected to the fundraiser. Eventually, Nimax assembled enough staff, but according to organisers, the names of the employees were shared with protesters outside the theatre who sent employees threatening emails.
Murray told the JC that the fiasco demonstrated, “A display of appalling cowardice by Nimax. They have one job: the show must go on, on this they failed. They also failed to keep their employees safe; they failed catastrophically.”
Alan Aziz, the chief executive of Technion UK, told Jewish News that a person at the theatre distributed the email addresses of Apollo employees who were due to work the event to someone outside the organisation and “All of them received threatening emails and told the management that they no longer wanted to work.”
St John's Wood United Synagogue stepped in at the eleventh hour to host Murray and Clein, and over 900 people packed into the shul for the conversation.
Murray condemned the situation as "an appalling indictment on our society and law enforcement in the UK".
The writer suggested that the theatre should report the employee who leaked the emails to the police because they put their colleagues in direct danger.
Despite the event move, protesters stood outside Apollo Theatre with megaphones and shouted: “The IDF are baby killers and genocide enablers”.
During the event in St Johns Wood, the Met police maintained a heavy presence.
Murray said: “I resent the fact that whenever there is an event about Israel it must be in synagogues because they are the only places that can be made safe. This shouldn’t be the case” and accused the theatre of "bowing to the mob.”
“Jews should be able to go to an event in central London safely.”
Murray said the event was “a wonderful, warm evening” and applauded the strength and courage of the community.
A spokesperson for Nimax said “The event on Sunday 4 February was cancelled on the advice of Nimax’s security company who advised that the risk was too high to proceed. The safety of the staff, attendees and building is always paramount.”