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Tuesday, November 18, 2008


On The Freedom To Fire (And The Decision To Hire)

Yesterday I wrote a pretty incendiary comment on the Time Out New York blog, regarding their recent post on the resignation of Scott Eckern of California Music Theatre (who faced a boycott from artists and subscribers, due to his donation in support of the anti-gay Proposition 8).

Only a day later, public records have revealed another leader of an artistic organization who's been "outed" as a donor for the heinous anti-marriage ballot measure: Richard Raddon, director of the L.A. Film Festival (which is produced by Film Independent, which also hosts the Independent Spirit Awards). Raddon, like Eckern, submitted his resignation when boycotts of the festival were called. Unlike Eckern, however, Film Independent has refused the resignation; they will keep Raddon on, at least for the near future.

It's important to say two things about this situation:

1) Film Independent has every right to ignore Raddon's donation, and keep him on staff. I support their right to hire whoever they wish...just as I also support festival audiences, who may choose to withdraw their support over their choice. An organization should not be bullied into a political decision; audiences, similarly, should not be bullied into putting aside their own values when they disagree with a hiring choice of this kind. If Film Independent wants to stand behind Raddon, I applaud their loyalty (if not their ethics). I hope they'll also respect the fair-minded individuals who no longer patronize their business, because their decision has serious ramifications for LGBT people and their families.

2) It is a specious, ignorant, and wholly indefenisble argument to contextualize those who support Proposition 8 as anything other than homophobes. ANY qualification in this debate, ANY separate-but-equal status, ANY distinction between marriage types creates inequality...by definition. Starting a sentence with the phrase "I'm not a homophobe, but..." or "I don't hate gays, but..." automatically reveals bigotry. You don't have to hate us to discriminate against us; you don't have to be foaming at the mouth to be homophobic. Couch it in religious rhetoric if you want, or argue minutiae...but it's still bigotry. Bottom line: if you don't want LGBT people to have EXACTLY the same rights as everyone else, you are homophobic and a bigot. Embrace that. Or change. But you cannot support Prop 8 while claiming to be gay-friendly.
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