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Cold call: Podcaster talks to his haters at live show

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He’s calling all haters!

A Brooklyn filmmaker and podcaster who tackles hot-button social issues including racism and homophobia will confront one of his many online haters in a live discussion at Union Hall on Nov. 19, capping the five-day Brooklyn Podcast Festival. The live, in-person version of the podcast “Conversati­ons with People Who Hate Me” will be a first for its host, who usually talks to his tormenters over the phone.

“This will be high stakes because I’ve never met someone off the Internet,” said Dylan Marron. “It’s one thing to do a phone call, it’s quite another to do live.”

Marron, who also plays the scientist Carlos in the fictional podcast “Welcome to Nightvale,” may be best known for his “Every Single Word” video series, in which he edits down popular films to only the words spoken by people of color (the video for the three-hour and 15-minute “Titanic” runs just 54 seconds). He called himself a “brown queer man who wears his mother’s pearl earrings,” when he launched the #queerselflove Twitter campaign, and he frequently receives Facebook messages calling him homophobic slurs, telling him to kill himself, or just calling him “a piece of s---.” The messages reached a peak following last year’s divisive election, Marron said.

“Right after the election last year, I knew that I wanted to kind of facilitate conversations like these,” he said. “At first I was blocking everyone who sent me a message like that or left a comment like that, but then I was like, you know, there are people who are coming to my digital front door step. What if I don’t turn them away? What if I see this as an opportunity for conversati­on?”

In each 30-minute episode, Marron is direct with his guests — usually asking directly if they really do hate him — but he tries to avoid shutting down those with different views.

“The whole point of this conversation is dialogue, it’s not for me to ‘own them’ or ‘destroy them’ or any of these militaristic terms that we see on the Internet,” he said. “I think we have been fed this idea that we have to shout down people we have to disagree with, and I don’t agree with that.”

Marron’s next project will be a digital interview series in which he talks to undocumented immigrants, which is sure to rouse more attacks from the “build the wall” crowd. But Marron is not trying to attract more vitriol, he said — he is just trying to show what can happen when people listen to each other.

“Listening is actually not that hard, listening to people is crucial,” he said. “We can listen to people we disagree with. We don’t have to perform our disagreement with them.”

The Brooklyn Podcast Festival, which runs Nov. 14–19, will feature 18 live shows, including comedy show “Kevin McDonald’s Kevin McDonald Show,” political series “Chapo Trap House,” and sex and culture podcast “Food 4 Thot,” among others, at local venues Union Hall, the Bell House, and Bric Arts Media Center.

“Conversati­ons with People Who Hate Me” at Union Hall (702 Union St. between Fifth and Sixth avenues in Park Slope, www.bkpodfest.com). Nov. 19 at 8 pm. $10.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 7:26 pm, November 15, 2017
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