The world premiere of Lil Nas X's documentary Long Live Montero was delayed Saturday night at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival after a bomb threat was made moments prior to the 24-year-old walking the red carpet, EW has confirmed.
Shortly before the screening was set to begin at 10 p.m. local time, documentary co-directors Carlos López Estrada and Zac Manuel arrived to the event with film editor Andrew Morrow, but TIFF organizers were informed that a bomb threat had been made upon Lil Nas X's arrival to the Roy Thomson Hall venue, and the Grammy winner was told to hold off on walking the carpet.
Leon Bennett/WireImage Lil Nas X at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
Variety was first to report the news, indicating that a source revealed that Lil Nas X was specifically targeted by a phoned-in threat because he's a Black queer artist. However, new information from TIFF representatives and law enforcement dispute those details.
"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," said Judy Lung, TIFF's VP of public relations, in a statement to EW overnight. "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."
Victor Kwong, a representative for the Toronto police, told EW via email on Sunday morning that "a passerby uttered a threat towards private security" outside of the hall. "Out of an abundance of caution, the Toronto Police and the private security swept the scene and cleared within 20 minutes. The threat was general and did not target any one person," he said.
The screening began 30 minutes later, after Lil Nas X walked the red carpet with his family.
Though the premiere continued without further incident, the film itself — which follows the singer-songwriter as he tours the country — charts intense pushback he's received throughout his career, including from religious protestors who often hold anti-LGBTQIA+ demonstrations outside of his concerts.
Long Live Montero does not have a confirmed release date, but is scheduled for two additional public screenings at TIFF on Thursday, Sept. 14 at 9:30 p.m. ET and Saturday, Sept. 16 at 12:00 p.m. ET.
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