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Threats and warning from Independence police prompts venue to cancel book signing

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A local venue has rescinded its offer to host a book signing and refunded all the money to ticket buyers after receiving threats and a warning from police about the author it was scheduled to host this Saturday.

The reason? Some people say the author is stirring up controversy.

People protested the book signing, saying they don't want what happened in Charlottesville to happen in Independence. Now, those involved with putting on the book signing say they are receiving threats.

Angela Krout asked the Cotillion Room and Garden in Independence if it would host Bryan Wilton -- an author -- for a book signing on Saturday, even after she heard concerns about who Wilton is associated with.

“I looked up the page, and went, 'I don`t see anything racist on this,'” Krout said.

Wilton is listed on the Asatru Folk Assembly --- or AFA's -- website as a Gothar -- or a spiritual and ritual leader to the group’s members.

“They just want the opportunity to worship as they see fit,” Krout added.

“The Asatru Folk Assembly has since their inception, in the mid-90s, been focused around only allowing folks that are of a white persuasion, and from northern European backgrounds to practice their belief system, they are very much a, 'if you`re not with us, you`re against us,' kind of group,” said Blair Marshall, who says he is totally against Wilton coming to town.

“For somebody who is actively a recruiter for an organization that has racist and homophobic leanings coming to our city, and recruiting for that organization, it`s not something we want to support.”

The lawyer for the Cotillion Room and Garden says it is no longer hosting Wilton after it received threats, and after police showed up to inform staff of the risks associated with hosting this author.

Krout says she`s also received threats -- and has been called a white supremacist and a homophobe for supporting Wilton. But she says what's being said about him is incorrect.

“He`s a good man, with a good message, and all of these people just keep hounding it, and they also like to take things way out of context,” said Krout.

Wilton is based out of Oklahoma but via video chat-- he says what's being circulated is untrue he insists he's not a white supremacist, but does believe in "separate but equal".

“They`re making up a large portion of this narrative,” said Wilton, “If you have the courage to say and make those kinds of statements and claims, reach out to me and open a dialogue.”

Marshall says it's not okay the venue has been threatened, but doesn't want tensions to escalate into violence.

“If we allow somebody to come in and preach their rhetoric and preach their hate, spread the anger and the bigotry, and we don`t do something to at least say, 'not in my town, we don`t want this,' then we might as well let anyone come in and do whatever they want to do, he can come in and have his discussion, we don`t have to make it easy for him,” adds Marshall.

Krout says they are still looking for a new venue to host the book signing on Saturday.

Marshall adds that the Iron Bone and Stone Asatru Kindred has publicly put on their meeting notes that Missouri is a conceal and carry state, and that their attendees be legally armed.