Ender’s Game: GLSEN to Honor Lionsgate, Studio Behind Orson Scott Card Movie

 

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!

H/T: Back2Stonewall

Lionsgate Responds to Geek’s Out “Skip Ender’s Game” Campaign: “We’ll Give You Money”

With ComiCon–the hajj of geekdom–rapidly approaching, Lionsgate–the studio behind sci-fi flick Ender’s Game, based on the novel by homo-hater Orson Scott Card who is also a producer on the movie–is scrambling to control the damage that Card’s nastiness is inflicting on the potential box office receipts. Geek’s Out has gotten the word out to skip Ender’s Game; and Lionsgate, which has a big push planned at ComiCon (though Card will not be on hand),  is clearly concerned, issuing this statement:

As proud longtime supporters of the LGBT community, champions of films ranging from “Gods and Monsters” to “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and a company that is proud to have recognized same-sex unions and domestic partnerships within its employee benefits policies for many years, we obviously do not agree with the personal views of Orson Scott Card and those of the National Organization for Marriage. However, they are completely irrelevant to a discussion of “Ender’s Game.” The simple fact is that neither the underlying book nor the film itself reflect these views in any way, shape or form. On the contrary, the film not only transports viewers to an entertaining and action-filled world, but it does so with positive and inspiring characters who ultimately deliver an ennobling and life-affirming message. 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.”

Keep in mind I’m a straight woman, so it’s up to the LGBT community to decide how they want to play this, but my initial response is fuck no.

Because Orson Scott Card is a producer of Ender’s Game. Because he will make money if it is a hit. Because he tithes 10% of that money back to the Mormon Church which fought long and hard against marriage equality. Because Card is on NOM’s Board of  Directors.

Oh hai, we’ll host a premier and give you money.

REALLY? Come see this movie based on works by a man who hates you, and let us throw dollars to staunch the pain that his words and deeds, that his money donated to campaigns against you has caused.   And then maybe you’ll tell all your friends it’s a good movie and we can make some money back off this PR nightmare. Because everyone has a price. Fuck you, Lionsgate.

Here’s what Geek’s Out wrote earlier this week:

NOM Board Member and Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card’s tone-deaf plea for “tolerance” from pro-gay marriage forces, first given to Entertainment Weeklystruck such a sour note with so many because it seems to miss the point entirely.

This is not and has never been about a much beloved sci-fi novel. Leaving aside the fact that Card thinks gay civil rights didn’t exist in the mid-80s, which is pretty insulting to the post-Stonewall generation frontline against a little something called AIDS—this is about us, here and now. This is about our community refusing to financially support an extreme anti-gay activist with a very public record of far-right comments against gay rights and marriage equality as concepts and LGBT folk as human beings…

Orson Scott Card, we can tolerate your anti-gay activism, your right-wing extremism, your campaign of fear-mongering and insults, but we’re not going to pay you for it. You’ve got the right to express your opinions and beliefs any way you choose—but you don’t have a right to our money.

How many homophobic billboards and absurd “Gathering Storm” ads would a new fortune built off of Ender’s Game lunchboxes buy for NOM?  Now would be an ideal time to hear from Lionsgate, as we know them to be a company of open hearts and allies of LGBT families. Now would be a great time, too, to hear from the cast and creative team behind Ender’s Game who have no connection to the author’s anti-gay activities and who’ve been vocal supporters of gay rights in the past. How do you cut this guy a check?

Lionsgate responded, but basically by saying

If we give you money, you’ll shut up, right?

Feel Good Fast Food? Chick-fil-A Will “Cease Donating” to Anti-Gay Organizations

 

Oh goodie! Everyone now has a free pass to eat at the conservative Christian-founded Chik-fil-A, excepts vegans because there is no kale patty there. The fast-food company’s non-profit arm claims they have dropped their support of anti-gay groups in order to pursue the mighty dollar, worshiping Mammon and putting profits before the Chick-fil-A’s founding family principlesUm, no more like non-profits before the IRS. Let’s read between the lines here at this article from the Chicago Phoenix:

After months of negotiations with [Chicago] Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno over its anti-gay positions and donations, Chick-fil-A has agreed to cease donations from its non-profit charity to anti-gay organizations and issued a company-wide internal mandate calling for the equal treatment of all employees and customers.

WinShape, a non-profit funded by Chick-fil-A, has donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT organizations — some classified hate groups — including Focus on the Family, according to The Civil Rights Agenda, which worked with Moreno and company executives in an advisory capacity as they negotiated to adopt new policies. Repeated attempts to confirm the information with Chick-fil-A have been unsuccessful….

The company outlined its shift in policy and practice in a letter addressed to Moreno (1st), who in July declared that he would block the popular fast food chain from opening a new location in his ward unless they changed their anti-gay policies. The letter, signed by Chick-fil-A’s Senior Director of Real Estate reads, “The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.” [emphasis mine]

So let’s see. The company was facing a difficult time expanding into Chicago. And will not be supporting political agendas. Giving money to groups that work to keep marriage equality off the ballot, or who work to defeat marriage equality at the ballot, is a political agenda.

Meanwhile the anti-marriage group National Organization for Marriage states that they have never received any funds form WinShape. The group which has campaigned heavily against marriage equality said in a statement form their president Brian Brown:

Despite recent news articles claiming Chick-fil-A’s WinShape Foundation donated money to our organization—this is false. The National Organization for Marriage has never received funding from them. We support Chick-fil-A’s philosophy that every person is treated with ‘honor, dignity and respect—regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender;’ and we will continue to endorse ‘Chick-fil-A Wednesdays’

Moreno, who made headlines this summer when he said he would seek to block Chick-fil-A opening in his ward, told the Chicago Tribune that Chick-fil-will issue a statement on non-discrimination.

Moreno said the statement will be included in a memo called “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are” to be distributed to all corporate employees and restaurant operators. The alderman said the memo will state the company’s commitment to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.” It also would state that it is the company’s “intent … not to engage in political or social debates.”

The statement does not seem to cover employment discrimination. Since 20o2 the privately-held corporation has been sued at least twelve times for discrimination.  While Chick-fil-A spokespeople didn’t return calls from reporters, it has not contested Alderman Moreno’s statements.

Over at our sister page, Pam’s House Blend, Pam Spaulding wonders

how the  all of those people who lined up for the Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day and spewed bible-beating homophobia to justify the corporation’s open support for hate groups (insisting it was really just about ‘free speech” opposing marriage equality)…

 feel about the company now. The bottom line is at the corporate level , Chick-Fil-A realized institutionalized homophobia is bad for business.

And I wonder if NOM will quietly disband Chick-fil-A Wednesdays. But how can you keep filk away after they’d had waffle fries?

LGBT: Glitter from Heaven at Minnesota State (un)Fair

Glitter rained down from the sky Sunday at the Minnesota State Fair as activists sprinkled sparkles onto the Minnesota for Marriage booth and participants shouted

Where’s our booth?! Equality for all!

When the fair opened, neither the anti-marriage equality group Minnesota for Marriage (more like Minnesota against Marriage, since the coalition of the Minnesota Family Council, the Minnesota Catholic Conference and the National Organization for Marriage oppose same-sex marriage) nor the pro-equality group Minnesotans United for All Families were able to secure booths. Minnesota for Marriage –I am trying really hard not to abbreviate them as M4M but I can’t resist–set up a few blocks away outside a church, while Minnesotans United shared space with the Independence, Green and DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) parties.

The local Christian radio station helped out the anti-equality group. Broadcasting from a little white house inside the fairgrounds, KKMS regularly announced:

While you’re visiting the fair, please, stop by the Minnesota for Marriage information booth in front of Church of the Holy Childhood.

But on Labor Day Weekend, the fair’s last three days, all of sudden M4M was given space for a booth, while Minnesotans United for All Families were not. And as the video shows, people felt that was unfair.

Marriage equality is also a focus at the Minnesota House of Representatives State Fair poll booth, featuring the unscientific poll that queries fair-goers about issues that will be on November 2012 statewide ballot in Minnesota, like ice-fishing laws, and an ID requirement for voting, and whether Minnesota should add a constitutional amendment that would prohibit same-sex marriage. The amendment, which was sponsored by the Republican-controlled legislature,  passed the constitutional ballot question in May. According to Minnesota Public Radio:

The Minnesota Republican Party doesn’t promote a position on the marriage amendment at its booth, and a spokeswoman said the party has no plans to do anything with it during the fair.

Independence Party volunteer James “Red” Nelson told MPR:

This is Minnesota. They don’t pry into other people’s business. Let them do what they want.

Alex Hindin, a volunteer for  Minnesotans United at the DFL booth told TwinCities.com:

I just think it’s completely ridiculous and unfair that in 2011 and 2012, we’re going to be fighting about something like whether people should be able to get married. We’ve got so many economic problems; our foreign policy is a mess; the country needs so many things, so many problems to address, but instead we’re dividing ourselves over something like this, over preventing some people from getting married.”

I’m Jewish. And my family was pushed out of Eastern Europe by people when the government wanted to distract people from real issues and pick a scapegoat to kick around. I think I’m pretty sensitive to when the same thing’s happening here.

State Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul told Minnesota Public Radio:

We’re getting folks that say, “Why is this happening? We had the budget issue and we had this focus on the amendment, why is this happening now?’ That’s been the number one question I’ve had here so far.

Fair-going glitter-bomb participant Joanna Hirvela promised:

Wherever there is bigotry, let there be glitter.


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