GOWANDA – A charity concert benefiting a historic Western New York theater is under fire after featuring a registered sex offender as their main act.
Thomas Pyle, best known under his stage name Artimus Pyle, is scheduled to perform at Gowanda’s Historic Hollywood Theater on Friday night.
The former Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer’s performance comes as a concern to some in the community, citing his status as a registered sex offender in North Carolina.
In 1993 the 73-year-old plead guilty to attempted capital battery and lewd assault in the presence of a child. After conviction, he served 8 years probation and no jail time.
The Gowanda Harley-Davidson store is among the community sponsors making the event possible.
The store’s manager, who would not provide his identity but spoke with WNY News Now via telephone, says Pyle’s conviction was unknown before booking the performer.
As for the community’s pushback, it appears the show will go on.
“It’s America, they can choose whatever they want to think, they can do whatever they want to do,” said the manager. “If they choose to go, they can go, if they choose not to, they don’t have to.”
Pyle is scheduled to take the stage at 7 p.m. The following night he is also slated to perform in North Tonawanda at the Riviera Theater.
Management at the Hollywood Theater have not returned WNY News Now’s request for comment. An inquiry to The Artimus Pyle Band has also gone unanswered.