Despite Controversy, 'The Butler' to Be Shown in Elizabethtown This Weekend

Jan 30, 2014

The State Theater in downtown Elizabethtown
Credit Emil Moffatt

Five months after Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” made its debut in theaters, residents of Elizabethtown will have the opportunity to see the film on the big screen this weekend. The State Theater in downtown Elizabethtown will show the movie Friday through Sunday. 

In August, Ike Boutwell, the owner of the town’s first-run movie theater and a Vietnam veteran, refused to show the film because it featured Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan.  

Fonda’s actions during the Vietnam War have not been forgotten by many veterans.

But Emily West, the director of the State Theater says Elizabethtown residents deserve a chance to see the movie on the big screen.

“I appreciate his decision and I appreciate what he [Boutwell] did for this country,” said West. “I am in no way a Jane Fonda supporter, I do think what she did was wrong, but it was a very long time ago and this is a wonderful film that was not able to be shown originally and I’m just giving folks the opportunity.”

West says she’s gotten some negative feedback about showing the film and much of that opposition has come from veterans.

“My argument is, you all fought and what you were fighting for was our continued independence. And that’s what America has always stood for is our rights as American citizens to make our own choices. And it’s been my choice to show this film,” said West.

“The Butler” will be shown in Elizabethtown Friday through Sunday. The movie is based on the life of a man who served seven different presidents over three decades as a White House butler. When it made its theatrical debut in August, it topped the box office charts for three consecutive weekends.