L.A. Film Fest Director Resigns

Variety’s Michael Jones reports that Rich Raddon resigned as director of the Los Angeles Film Festival, which had come under fire because he had contributed to the campaign to pass Proposition 8.

Backers of boycotts of Proposition 8 donors said that their actions are justified. As Chad Griffin, who worked on the No on 8 campaign, said recently, “You are either on one side or the other.”

Raddon “chose to make that donation and he will have to live with the consequences,” he said.

The Los Angeles Film Festival faced not just picketers at its event, but pressure from filmmakers, perhaps to withhold their titles. (For a look at some of their letters to Film Independent, which oversees the film festival, see here.)

Griffin also brought up a good point: Given that the festival works with so many gay and lesbian filmmakers, why did he make the donation in the first place? In the runup to the election, I talked to a number of Hollywood conservatives who laughed in my face when I asked whether they though anyone in the entertainment industry would give to the Yes on 8 campaign.

In fact, very few did. That may be one reason that Raddon and Cinemark CEO Alan Stock have been targeted so aggressively. There are so few other high profile donors in the business to be found.

Raddon, who is a Mormon, said in a statement, “I have always held the belief that all people, no matter race, religion, or sexual orientation are entitled to equal rights.  I prefer to keep the details around my contribution through my church a private matter.  But I am profoundly sorry for the negative attention that my actions have drawn to Film Independent and for the hurt and pain that is being experienced in the GLBT community.”

Inevitably, there will be blowback focused on whether Raddon was merely expressing his right to free speech. In the creative community, it’s a right that ranks right up there in importance along with civil rights, so there could be some consternation as to what it the right approach going forward.

Meanwhile, my fellow blogger and veteran Variety columnist Army Archerd writes up the pre-election wedding of Michael Feinstein and Terrence Flannigan, with 95-year-old Tony Martin and Liza Minnelli providing the music.

Archerd writes, “I cannot help but mourn for friends in/out of the industry and all who have been affected by the passage if Prop. 8 and for its defiance of the Constitution. The daily reverberations (see the front page of today’s L.A. Times)  emphasize the importance of the California Supreme Court hearings next year. But meanwhile, Prop. 8 would try to have us believe all of us are not created equal. Frightening.”

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  1. William Bauer, MD says:

    As I read about the black listing going on post proposition 8, I wonder if anyone is considering the potential for blowback. It seems out here in the hinterlands we have tolerated a lot of political shenanigans from the entertainment industry over the years. It seems though with the downturn in the overall economy it may be a good time not to go after individuals for expressing a different point of view but instead to learn tolerance and respect for others’ different view points and to work together in these tough economic times. Maybe winning the White House and all the branches of government is not enough. Maybe it is time to try to destroy ones nieghbors’ and colleagues’ lives and personal and professional reputations because they have a different view of a religious covenant than you. Maybe it is not, however, and this will cause a backlash?

  2. TKD says:

    There is no way to reconcile Rich Raddon’s donation with his statement that he has “always held the belief that all people, no matter race, religion, or sexual orientation are entitled to equal rights.” Prop 8 was clearly and specifically about denying equal rights to gay and lesbian people. You can’t support it, and believe what Raddon claims to believe.
    So what are we to think? That he is lying through his teeth? Or that he was coerced by his church into making a donation against his beliefs? What kind of person does such a thing?
    If he were genuinely sorry for the damage done by Prop 8, he would immediately endorse and support a campaign to overturn Prop 8, and undo the damage he has done. Short of that, he’s not sorry, and his statement is hot air.
    As for free speech: yes, he has the right to donate to whatever he wants — just as people have the legal right to harbor racial hatred, or think people are inferior because of gender. But his right of free speech does not trump our right of freedom of association. Would a person who contributed to a proposition to eliminate interracial marriage be permitted to lead the film festival? What about a person who endorses eliminating women’s right to vote? No, they wouldn’t. And neither should a person who thinks that gay and lesbian people shouldn’t have the same legal rights as everyone else.

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