Kicking A Lion

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‘Hollywood witch-hunt’ claims film boss

Mormon head of LA Film Festival donated to campaign against same-sex unions

By Guy Adams in Los Angeles

In the latest episode of Hollywood’s biggest witch-hunt since the era of McCarthyism, the director of the Los Angeles Film Festival has resigned over revelations that he helped to fund the campaign to outlaw gay marriage in California.

 

Richard Raddon was hounded from office after it emerged he had donated $1,500 (£980) to support Proposition 8, the electoral ballot measure which banned same-sex unions, when it was backed by 52.5 per cent of the state’s voters on 4 November.

Mr Raddon is a devout member of the Mormon Church, which asked members to donate time and money to “Yes on 8”, securing tens of millions of dollars that helped finance a series of hard-hitting, and in many cases misleading, TV attack ads.

After his financial support for Proposition 8 was made public, Film Independent, the organisation that oversees the festival, was swamped with phone calls and emails from activists threatening to boycott next May’s week-long event. Although Film Independent’s board of directors offered a unanimous vote of confidence, Mr Raddon announced late on Tuesday that he would quit after eight years in office. “I have always held the belief that all people, no matter race, religion or sexual orientation, are entitled to equal rights,” read his somewhat mealy-mouthed resignation letter. “I consider myself a devout and faithful Mormon. 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 [gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender] community.”

Mr Raddon’s name was first discovered on lists of “Yes on 8” donors two weeks ago, by a blogger called David Poland. A similar protest recently led to the departure of Scott Eckern, the artistic director of California Musical Theatre in Sacramento, who was exposed for donating $1,000 to the campaign.

Many gay rights activists are now manning picket lines outside the offices and outlets of other businesses whose executives supported the measure.

The Sundance Film Festival, which takes place in January, is firmly in their firing line, since its venue is in Park City, Utah, the state which represents the spiritual home of the Mormon faith. Sundance also has a screening room run by the Cinemark chain, whose chief executive Alan Stock donated $9,999 to “yes on 8”. Activists are planning to demonstrate outside Cinemark venues this weekend, to prevent it cashing-in on the film Milk, about the gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk.

Separately, the California Supreme Court has announced that it would hear a legal challenge to Proposition 8 brought by a selection of the 18,000 same-sex couples who had tied the knot in the five months since gay weddings were legalised.

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Written by kickingalion

November 27, 2008 at 4:31 am

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