Once again, more outcry has arisen around the acclaimed superhero movie Deadpool; this time right here in my very own town, Salt Lake City. The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control known as the DABC (yes, this is a real department) is tasked with controlling the laws and regulations revolving around drinking. Here in a state where the leaders are part of a religion that strictly forbids the drinking of alcohol, these regulations are numerous. Every bar and restaurant must conform in order to get a liquor license. Alcohol above a certain percentage must be sold in a state-run liquor store. The “sin tax” as it’s known, is astronomical, causing alcohol prices in Utah to be 25% (or more) higher than anywhere else. It’s cheaper to go to neighboring states to purchase alcohol. However, that’s considered smuggling, and very illegal.
What does all of this have to do with Deadpool? Well, In SLC there is a bar/movie theater called “Brewvies”. The DABC allows the showing of R rated movies while alcohol is served. Anything beyond that is right out. Meaning you can’t show full frontal nudity while serving alcohol. This is a rule for strip clubs here as well. Deadpool, although it has an R rating, has both male and female full frontal nudity. Brewvies decided to play Deadpool anyway.
In reaction to this, the DABC decided to shut down Brewvies if they kept showing the movie. Brewvies in turn, decided to sue the DABC for being unconstitutional. The legal battle raged on for a couple weeks. This got to be so big that Ryan Reynolds heard about it and decided to donate $5,000 to Brewvies to continue the fight. Most of what happened inside the courtroom was kept secret from the public. The Utah Government is particularly secretive about these sort of legal issues. Hearsay and rumors led Salt Lake residents to believe that Brewvies would lose the fight and shut down. However, the last thing we heard about was that the DABC dropped all charges against the theater. Brewvies is still pressing for a restraining order so that they don’t have to go through this kind of thing in the future, as movies become less and less restrictive about the content shown.
It’ll be interesting to see if this creates any sort of legal precedent. If Brewvies was able to get out of a citation from the DABC and keep their liquor license, other bars or restaurants wanting less restrictive liquor laws might push against the DABC in their time of vulnerability.
In the end, Brewvies held a special midnight event showing Deadpool. The proceeds helped pay off legal fees. Chalk up another victory for Deadpool!