Wednesday, November 26, 2008

L.A. Film Festival director - and Latter-day Saint - resigns over Prop. 8 protests

The anti-Prop. 8 assault on Prop. 8 supporters continues, and its latest victim is Richard Raddon, director of the L.A. Film Festival and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The L.A. Times reports that when Raddon's donation of $1,500 became public almost two weeks ago, the gay community began inundating Film Independent with criticism for having Raddon among its ranks. Raddon's initial offer to resign was countered with a vote of confidence from the board, which includes Don Cheadle, Forest Whitaker, Lionsgate President Tom Ortenberg and Fox Searchlight President Peter Rice.

However, according to one Film Independent board member, "No on 8" supporters also berated Raddon personally via phone calls and e-mails. He offered to resign again, and the board accepted the second offer.

Raddon issued this statement:

"I have always held the belief that all people, no matter race, religion or sexual orientation, are entitled to equal rights. As many know, 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."
It's unfortunate that he basically has to apologize for his beliefs; however, gay couples ALREADY HAVE all the same rights. I applaud how Raddon stands by his faith while empathizing with the hurt and pain felt by the GLBT community.

Here's more from the L.A. Times piece:

Raddon's support for Proposition 8 has sparked debate within both the gay community and Hollywood, as many publicly worry about punishing people for free speech, even speech they deemed hateful, and his departure has already provoked ambivalence.

"I'm personally saddened by the outcome," said Film Independent board member Bill Condon, the writer-director of "Dreamgirls." "Someone has lost his job and possibly his livelihood because of privately held religious beliefs. I think the organization was ready to tough this out, but Rich ultimately decided it wasn't worth the cost. I'm not sure he was right."

What a shame. How many more careers are going to be derailed because of bigoted hatred against those who supported their faith-based beliefs?

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