GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is honoring Lionsgate, the studio behind Ender’s Game at their annual $,1000/ticket Respect Awards in October. Disgusting. It’s shameful that GLSEN would do this, and looks really bad especially since Lionsgate responded to GeeksOut’st call to skip Ender’s Game by saying:
Lionsgate will continue its longstanding commitment to the LGBT community by exploring new ways we can support LGBT causes and, as part of this ongoing process, will host a benefit premiere for Ender’s Game.
I see what you did there. Gross.
Along with giving an award to Lionsgate, the Respect fundraiser for GLSEN will also honor Jim Parsons, Sheldon from the tv show, Big Bang Theory and his husband, designer Todd Spiewak (the newlyweds just founded a production company, That’s Wonderful Productions, and they are actively looking for projects, ranging from TV and movies to plays); and award winning producer and writer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (she was responsible creating Designing Women and wrote and directed all three of Bill Clinton’s Democratic Convention films, including the iconic Man from Hope, as well as the 2008 Democratic Convention film for then-Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton).
The work done by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network is important and impressive. With 36 chapters in 23 states, GLSEN works to make sure that every member of every school community is valued and respected, regardless of sexual identity, gender identity or gender expression. So why the flying monkeys are they lauding Lionsgate this year with their Chairman’s Award? Because presumably Lionsgate can sell tickets and get their stars to show up. Think The Hunger Games franchise, The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn—Part 2, Now You See Me, Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, Tyler Perry’s Temptation, Warm Bodies, Perks of Being A Wallflower, The Expendables 2, The Possession, Sinister, The Cabin in the Woods, Mud and Arbitrage–and that’s just movies. They also produce 28 television shows on 20 different network,s including iconic brands such as the multiple Emmy Award-winning Mad Men and recent hits such as Orange is the New Black, Anger Management and Nashville.
However, this year Lionsgate has stinky stench associated with it: Ender’s Game is based on the novel by Orson Scott Card, a homo-hatin’ card-carrying (ex?) board member of the National Organization for Marriage, and a staunch opponent of marriage equality who advocated for government overthrow should federal marriage equality be granted (now there’s a guy who needs an NSL!). Insiders suggest Card stands to make millions of dollars between the story rights, distribution rights, and his box office percentage through Lionsgate and their partner Summit Entertainment.
Julia Marella of Slate PR, a public relations firm based in Hollywood, CA, replied to Back2Stonewall’s query to GLSEN’s involvement with Lionsgate:
Lionsgate has a long and rich history of creating LGBT-inclusive and affirming films. The studio has also been an industry leader in ensuring workplace protections and benefits for LGBT people. When Lionsgate acquired Summit Entertainment last year, the company inherited its library of current projects, including Ender’s Game. Though GLSEN flatly rejects book author Orson Scott Card’s support for the discrimination of LGBT people, we stand behind Lionsgate’s similar rejection of Card’s personal beliefs and its long-standing commitment to support the LGBT community.
If GLSEN, which counts Kyra Sedgwick as a board member, wasn’t an organization involved with kids, I would use some very strong language about selling oneself. Interestingly, when Back2Stonewall contacted GLSEN’s press person, Andy Marra about Lionsgate, it was Slate Public Relations, one of the heaviest hitters in Hollywood that responded, and Hollywood publicists are not cheap, they start at about $4,500/month. In the past, Slate handled the PR for the 2013 Tony Awards and the 2013 Emmys. Basically, if you buy a table (1oK) you’ll be covering the publicist’s fees.
Ender’s Game opens November 1. Patrick Yacco of Geeks Out emailed me about the Respect fundraiser, Lionsgate and Ender’s Game:
Until Lionsgate and their subsidiaries are more transparent about their production deal with homophobic activist Orson Scott Card for the rights to Ender’s Game, it’s difficult to see them as deserving of such an award. Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that those details will ever be revealed, so I feel that LGBT fans have few options to support that film, and should skip it when it’s released later this year.
But for now, shame on GLSEN for accepting this obvious pinkwashing. Shame, shame shame!