You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Priest’ foes pass over Miramax, boycott Disney

The Catholic group that slammed the Walt Disney Co. and subsidiary Miramax Films for planning to release “Priest” on Good Friday is staging a nationwide boycott of Disney products and a call to flood Disney’s phone lines with complaints.

“This is not something that might happen, rather it is something that is already under way,” said William A. Donohue, president of the New York-based Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

The Catholic League was joined in the boycott call by a Christian group claiming to be the largest pro-life organization in the country with 300,000 supporters. That group, the Stafford, Va.-based American Life League, issued a statement Tuesday calling the Antonia Bird-directed film “blasphemous,” “smut” and “sacrilegious.” American Life League president Judie Brown also “demands” that Disney withdraw the film from distribution and that Disney president and CEO Michael Eisner “be fired.”

The call for a boycott comes on the heels of the film’s wide release date change: from April 14 – Good Friday – to April 19 in response to the Catholic League’s complaints.

The film, a sharp-edged examination of the priesthood that features actor Linus Roache as a young cleric coming to terms with his homosexuality, already is on screens in New York and Los Angeles.

Priest” has received critical kudos at the Toronto, Berlin and Sundance films fests.

Perhaps because Miramax’s reputation was practically built on controversial arthouse fare, the Christian groups are targeting the more image-sensitive Disney in efforts to squelch the movie. Although Disney and Miramax execs maintain that the indie distrib operates on an autonomous basis, the anti-“Priest” factions clearly are hoping to pit Disney’s family image against the controversial film. Donohue said he spoke to John Dreyer, Disney’s VP of corporate communications, and was told “that Disney would take absolutely no responsibility for the Miramax-released movie.”

Disney had no futher comment on the boycott.

But in response to his conversation with Dreyer, Donohue said the League is “calling for a boycott of all Disney products, a boycott of vacations to Disney World and Disneyland and a boycott of the Disney cable television channel.” The League also is asking Catholic organizations to sell any Disney stock it may have.

The League statement also asks “the public to call Disney and tie up the lines by making a complaint.” Donohue claimed, “Disney has already disabled one of its phone numbers due to the public’s response.” The May issue of the League’s journal Catalyst includes postcards of “outrage” to send to Disney.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Andhadhun receives AACTA nomination

    Indian and Chinese Titles Dominate AACTA Asian Award Nominations

    Three Indian and three mainland Chinese films are among the nine feature movies shortlisted for the Best Asian Film Award by the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts. The Indian selections are box office hit “Andhadhun,” “Super Deluxe, and “Gully Boy,” which premiered in February at the Berlin festival. The Chinese trio includes “Shadow,” [...]

  • Fernando Meirelles The Two Popes

    Film News Roundup: 'The Two Popes' Wins Audience Award at Miami Festival

    In today’s film news roundup, “The Two Popes” wins an audience award, “A Night with Janis Joplin” and “Fittest in Dubai” get releases, Artists First reorganizes, SAG-AFTRA expands its headquarters and Film Fest 919 announces its winners. AUDIENCE AWARD Fernando Meirelles’ “The Two Popes” has won the audience award at the Miami Gems Film Festival. [...]

  • Scotty Bowers

    Scotty Bowers, Old Hollywood's Sexual Matchmaker, Dies at 96

    Scotty Bowers, a “sexual matchmaker” for dozens of stars during the Golden Age of Hollywood who wrote about his colorful — and sometimes unbelivable — life in his memoir “Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars,” died at his Laurel Canyon home on Sunday. He was 96. The [...]

  • AMC theater

    AMC Entertainment Introducing On-Demand Movie Service

    AMC Entertainment will introduce an online video store in the United States on Tuesday. Adam Aron, AMC’s president and chief executive, said that the AMC Theaters On Demand will offer about 2,000 films for sale or rent after their theatrical runs — much like Amazon or iTunes. Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, Sony and Paramount have [...]

  • Scarlett Johansson poses for photographers upon

    Scarlett Johansson 'Pushing' for All-Women Marvel Movie

    After the epic battle scene in “Avengers: Endgame” depicted the female superheroes uniting to protect Spider-Man from Thanos, Marvel fans started wondering if they’ll ever see the women unite for a standalone movie. “Captain Marvel” star Brie Larson generated even more buzz when she told Variety that she and other female co-stars have approached Marvel [...]

  • Ivana Lombardi Netflix

    Annapurna Film Head Ivana Lombardi Named Director of Indies at Netflix (EXCLUSIVE)

    Annapurna Pictures president of film Ivana Lombardi is moving across town to Netflix, after almost a year in her role at Megan Ellison’s company. As of Nov. 6, Lombardi will serve as director of independent films at the streamer. She will report directly to Lisa Nishimura, Netflix’s vice president of independent film and documentary features. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content