Justice Pricing Stunt Explained

I’m Shiraz, the person who made international news for saying I was going to charge hetero white cisgender males double to attend a comedy screening. We called this pricing model “Justice Pricing.” A lot of people got very angry, and, as a result, the story spread like wildfire.

Why did I do it?

Because it was funny, because people’s reactions were interesting, and because it was dead easy to do.

Even though I knew I could get international press doing this, it is incredibly stupid that it worked. Many dozens of blogs, newspapers, and other media covered a story about a discriminatory pricing scheme for an event by a company literally called Made You Look Media, attached to the premiere of a webseries about comedy and guerilla marketing, spread around by “Sid Mohammed,” the thinnest alibi possible, with literally nothing but a gmail account to his name. I mean it literally says on the “Building the Room” website “…a fun romp full of exciting promotional stunts .” And, we were NEVER even selling tickets…

But the media outlets didn’t care it was a stunt, because stunt or not, it was controversy, and they could get clicks and shares by posting a provocative headline. Read Ryan Holiday’s Trust Me I’m Lying for more on how that all works (and for a much more in depth examination of the failings of online media). I basically just followed that book to the letter (with the help of my friend Brent Underwood) to make this happen.

In the ensuing madness the highlights included hearing a bunch of people get fired up about discrimination for the first time in their lives. Seeing a bunch of people give discrimination a free pass for the first time in their lives. Reading a bunch of comments and messages where people railed against discrimination, then turned around to say “why don’t you charge Asians more, they’re more privileged than we are.”  

This incredibly hypocritical comment railing against discrimination and racism:


Being told by people who live in cities 5 hours flight from me that they were going to boycott my screening.

This google search result:

I mean damn, making people incredibly irrationally angry was way too easy.

It was so easy because the whole discourse around identity politics (and politics in general) has become completely absurd, on both ends of the spectrum. People on one side feel attacked by any mention of privilege and its power. People on the other feel no empathy for the struggles faced by those who have privilege (white, male, hetero, cis, rich). And no, don’t punch Nazis, they’re mostly insecure virgins and mentally ill people acting out. They deserve our compassion, despite giving us every reason to withhold it.

Reasonable people have left the conversation on social media, blogs, twitter and wherever else. These places have become battlegrounds for people who have no interest in critical thought, empathy or humour. Anyone with half a notion of their own ignorance is completely checked out of the conversation at this point. Overconfident ass hats dominate the discourse and there seems to be no room for humour.

The worst thing about all of this is that so many media outlets continue to pedal bullshit to make you angry and get your clicks, shares and comments, regardless of how absolutely irrelevant the content is. This was a nothing event, and it became international news.

Stop reading shit that makes you angry. And stop telling everyone how angry you are in comment sections. Go talk to other real people. It’s a lot harder to hate the other side if you’re looking at them and seeing that they’re human.

I knew suggesting white males pay more for tickets would get me national media attention, because I was being a simplistic ass hat, and if you’re a simplistic ass hat, you can get as much press as you want. STOP GIVING ASS HATS PLATFORMS, DONALD TRUMP IS THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES… WE SHOULD KNOW BETTER BY NOW.

And no, I’m not trying to tell proponents of social justice to shut up and go home, neither am I trying to tell white guys to sit down and take it when overt expressions of discrimination like this are leveled at them. The only thing I want is for us to be able to have some damn fun. If people could take themselves a bit less seriously, and get a bit less angry and irrational about this stuff, I think more of us could have had a good laugh about the ridiculousness of a bunch of naked apes using supercomputers to unleash their egos.

We’re all human. We’ve all been in a public washroom with single ply paper and have looked down to find brown and red and have wondered, “Is it dangerous to continue? Should I just wrap this up and shower when I get home?” In those moments, we’re equals.