TIFF 2023: Lil Nas X documentary delayed by bomb threat

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The Saturday night premiere of the documentary “Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero” at the Toronto International Film Festival was delayed after a bomb threat was called in, multiple sources close to the artist confirmed to The Times.

The news was first reported by Variety, which said that the threat specifically targeted the “Old Town Road” rapper for being a Black queer artist.

TIFF Vice President, Public Relations & Communications Judy Lung would not confirm that the threat was aimed at Lil Nas X.

“Earlier this evening, we were made aware by the Toronto Police Service of an investigation in the vicinity of the red carpet for the ‘Lil Nas X: Long Live Montero’ screening,” Lung wrote in a statement to The Times. “Our standard security measures remained in place during this time and the screening commenced with a slight delay. To our knowledge, this was a general threat and not directed at the film or the artist.”

The screening at TIFF’s Roy Thomson Hall, home to the festival’s gala events, was delayed by some 20 minutes as authorities determined the threat was not credible. Lil Nas X was held from arriving on the red carpet before he joined directors Carlos López Estrada and Zac Manuel and entered the building, at which point the screening proceeded as planned. A source who was inside the venue told The Times that attendees were not informed about the threat.

In reviewing Lil Nas X’s debut full-length album, “Montero,” Times pop music critic Mikael Wood wrote, “He’s framed the steps in his unlikely journey — as a Black kid trying to break into country music, as a gay man making hip-hop — in richly emotional terms, which means his audience shares in his triumphs while his detractors come off like scolds. And scolds he’s definitely got: Making himself a queer Black sex object was a radical act.”

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