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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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