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Fringe Festival puppeteer bows out after groping incident

"I have made many mistakes in my life, and this week I made a very big one."

This year's Minnesota Fringe Festival came to an end on a note of controversy surrounding one of its acts.

Last week, during a ventriloquist-style puppet show called "Bad Thoughts with Wolfie B. Bad," the main character's antics went too far, prompting an outcry against the performer — and his eventual exit from the festival altogether.

According to City Pages, an audience member who was called up to the stage to participate in the show was groped by the puppet, which continued despite negative reactions from the audience.

Daniel Mohr, the puppeteer behind Wolfie B., issued an apology on his Facebook page, calling it a "very big" mistake and stating that "it is never my intention to harm anyone on stage":

He also announced he would be cancelling the rest of his Fringe Festival performances.

The show's entry on the Fringe Festival website has since been taken down. 

So what happens next? As the aforementioned City Pages story notes, Fair Play Minnesota — which advocates for gender equity in the local theater scene — is calling on the Minnesota Fringe Festival to "make a public statement" and beef up its policies against such conduct.

This is not the first time an act has generated controversy for the performing arts extravaganza. In 2016, a pedophilia-themed show was axed from the lineup, leading to a lawsuit from its writer/performer, as the Star Tribune noted. 

The festival, which hosts a wide variety of experimental shows around the Twin Cities every summer, concluded Sunday after an 11-day run.

 

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