As a friend/commenter posted in the comment section of my "Mickey Rourke and Lindsay Lohan" post, there are a lot of homosexuals working in Hollywood. Powerful ones too (see David Geffen). So it was inevitable that a powerful post-Prop 8 wind was going to blow through Tinseltown.
Recently, a couple of Hollywood industry people were "outed", you could say, for being supporters of Prop 8. The CEO of Cinemark was a "yes on Prop 8" supporter, and so was the director of the Los Angeles Film Festival. (UPDATE: The California Musical Theater's artistic director just resigned due to boycott pressure following his Prop 8 donations).
Before getting to some thoughts of my own, below is MCN blogger Dave Poland's post on the Rich Raddon (the festival director of LAFF) situation:
Prop 8 Battle Hits Hollywood's Indie Community At Home
The buzz story of the day is not going to go anywhere pretty...
The Festival Director of FIND's LA Film Festival, Rich Raddon, came up on a “Yes On 8” donation list this morning. $1500.
Rich is a well-liked guy. He is not secretive about being a Mormon. And he could end up losing his job over this.
FIND's position is that no one can be fired from a job over their religious beliefs. So Rich is still employed.
And I must say, positions amongst FIND insiders are widely varied. The phrase "witch hunt" has been used... as has "I can't see ever sitting down at a meeting table with him again."
And so… the question is now one that a lot of people in the Los Angeles indie community must answer directly… how do we all – gay, straight, and otherwise – feel about seriously damaging careers of people just because we disagree with them politically? How far into people's beliefs will we go before we decide that we must respect the rights of everyone, not just those we agree with? And if you are a hard-liner on Prop 8, how can you forgive?
These are the times that try people's souls... and as cynical and gamey as Hollywood is, these questions are being pondered with passion and sincerity all over town.
Since that post, Raddon has resigned. However, FIND then denied his resignation. At this moment nothing else is known about Raddon's future. Here is his profile over at their website.
Now, first of all, I should disclose that I am for gay marriage. I am also for the freedom of personal, religious, and political beliefs. You may dislike Raddon for his beliefs, but to want him fired because of them is disgusting. Protest? sure. Boycott? go for it. Firing someone over a political disagreement? that's illegal.
In the comment section to Poland's post (click on the link up top to see the comments) there were quite a few people who supported the idea of Raddon being forced out because he was a "Yes on Prop 8" supporter.
Here's the first comment from that post:
"If they found out the guy was a member of the KKK would that be grounds not to want to sit at a table, let alone work with him? Prejudice might be a right, but discrimination certainly isn't. And that's where the respect ends and action (including boycotts and "witch hunts") begin."
A few thoughts on that comment:
1. I think some advocates of gay marriage do the cause a disservice when comparing it to our nation's long history of discrimination against blacks. Gay people have not suffered under anything resembling a Jim Crow type of oppression, and to suggest otherwise could very well create greater push back against the cause.
2. It bothers me how easily this commenter supports "witch hunts" simply because somebody disagrees with him. Does he not see that as being exactly what he is railing against?
3. Lastly, and though the commenter does not mention this, advocates of gay marriage should not frame their arguments along conservative/liberal or Republican/Democrat lines. 60.9 % of Californians voted for Obama, while 37.3% voted for John McCain. 52% of Californians voted for Prop 8. That means that a significant number of Democrats voted for Prop 8.
I'm not a legal scholar, but since California's supreme court previously ruled that denying marriage licenses to gays was unconstitutional, I imagine that will happen again in the future. I realize that "in the future" isn't very comforting for people who love each other and want to be married now, but I firmly believe it's only a matter of time before gay marriage is widely accepted. It's a generational thing (voting statistics support that).
This is also probably of little comfort, but "yes" voters (ie anti-gay marriage voters) dropped 9% from 2000 to 2008, leaving only a 4% margin between pro- and anti- voters. This is good news, and it's great to see a rising up of peaceful activism among gay marriage supporters. However, these supporters - which I think are in the majority - should push back on the "witch hunt" faction of the movement whose violent and radical tendencies will do nothing towards getting that 4% margin into the negative.
to be continued...
So I guess there is a blacklist afterall. It's not exclusive to Hollywood, but it does exist.
Of course, whoever set this up is entitled to do so, but it is a "witch hunt". Voting yes on Prop-8 doesn't necessarily make you "anti-gay" nor mean that you "hate" gay people. Again, I think that type of quick branding could ultimately be counterproductive for the pro-gay marriage movement.