NYPD Subpoenas Twitter Following Threats to Longacre Theatre

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
and Michael Gioia
07 Aug 2012

Current marquee at the Longacre Theatre
Current marquee at the Longacre Theatre
Monica Simoes

The New York City Police Department subpoenaed Twitter Aug. 7 following several tweets on the social-media site Twitter by a poster who has threatened to open fire at the Longacre Theatre, home of Broadway's Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth.

According to the New York Post, following the Aug. 2 opening night of Undisputed Truth, the NYPD's Intel Unit received word of the Twitter user, who threatened a shooting rampage in the style of the recent "Dark Knight Rises" massacre that occurred July 20 at a movie theatre in Aurora, CO.

The NYPD sent an "emergency request" to the social-media website to reveal the user; Twitter denied the request.

An email from Twitter stated, "We appreciate the timeliness and sensitivity of this matter, and have reviewed the reported Twitter account. While we do invoke emergency-disclosure procedures when it appears that a threat is present, specific and immediate, this does not appear to fall under those strict parameters as per our policies."

Philip S. Birsh, Chairman and CEO of Playbill, said that he finds "the people who are in charge of the policy of Twitter irresponsible and obviously do not care about public safety. Refusing to help The New York Police Department with a situation that cries out imminent danger speaks volumes to the irresponsible nature of the senior management of Twitter. All they care about is their own private agendas."



NYPD spokesman Paul Browne told the Post that armed officers will be at the Longacre Theatre on 48th Street until further notice. 

Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of The Broadway League, said in a statement, "Broadway is a community and we work together very closely to ensure the safety and security of our theatregoers and employees. In all situations impacting security, we coordinate our efforts with the New York City Police Department and the Security personnel of the Times Square Alliance. Individual theatre responses are activated as necessary based upon the direction given by the NYC police and the specifics of the situation. Broadway has extensive security procedures in our theatres and in the theatre district with the primary purpose of protecting our theatregoers and employees. We are devoted to ensuring that Broadway theaters remain safe spaces where audiences can enjoy our performances."

As of the evening of Aug. 7, Twitter complied with the subpoena and disclosed the source of the threatening tweets. The NYPD, according to a spokesperson, is "using [the new information] as part of our ongoing investigation." No further information was given; a spokesperson for Twitter declined comment to the Associated Press.

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Academy Award nominee Spike Lee ("Do the Right Thing," "Malcolm X") makes his Broadway directorial debut with Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, which began previews July 31 and continues in a limited engagement through Aug. 12.