While Lionsgate must have known about author Orson Scott Card’s homophobic views when they bought the rights to make a movie of his classic sci-fi novel Ender’s Game, up until last week they’d largely managed to keep people focussed on the film, which stars Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield. However that came unstuck when the gay group Geeks Out announced earlier this week that they were organising a boycott of the film.
This led to Card responding and asking for ‘tolerance’, and also seeming to admit he’d lost the gay marriage debate. However Lionsgate didn’t say anything, until now that is. They’ve now said they want people to view Card’s beliefs as irrelevant to the movie, and have also promised to hold an LGBT benefit.
Here’s the statement: ‘Via: Richard Foreman Jr., SMPSP
‘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.
‘Ender’s Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984. With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot. The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state. Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.’
It remains to be seen whether those who want to boycott the film will accept, as their issue was never with the movie itself, which no one has suggested was anti-gay, but with the fact if it’s a success it will earn Orson money both from his film deal and with increased sales of his book, as well as giving him a higher public profile to espouse his views. While it’s understandable that the film company would want people to see the author and the film as completely separate, whether that’s a reasonable thing to do is another matter.
It was already clear before the boycott that Lionsgate was trying to sideline Card from the promotion of the film, and their latest statement is an attempt to pull the story back to being about the film rather than the beliefs of the man who created the story. Incidentally, their claim to being a very gay-friendly company is generally seen as true, even if many do wish they’d left Ender’s Game alone.
As well as a full-on boycott, there are others calling for LGBT-friendly people to go see the film if they want to but also make a donation to a gay cause, as a kind of offset against any money Card might make.
We’ll have to wait and see whether calls for a boycott affect the film when it’s released in November.