Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Another Prop 8 Blacklist "Success"

Richard Raddon, the director of the LA Film Festival, resigns over his donation to Yes on 8, and the angry mob celebrates.

Yes, I still endorse boycotts and protests.

And I think Bill Condon is wrong to defend Raddon's contribution as his "personal religion." Raddon's right to his private personal religion stops at the point where it starts to take away MY rights.

Yet I still don't believe in a blacklist. However, I think in this case, Raddon probably had to go.

Now, all of you are going to be probably a bit put off by the distinction I'm making here, but here it is:

In the first "blacklist" case, an artistic director was drummed out of his job. That's a classic example of a blacklist, and it's disconcerting. As I've said, people do have a right to their own personal bigotry, and bigots should be able to earn a livelihood, even if their bigotry is politically offensive (as long as it's legal).

In Raddon's case, however, he was Chairman of the Board of a non-profit foundation. Quite a lot of the public were upset with the foundation that someone who Chaired their board was promoting discrimination.

The board wanted to support him. The public didn't. In this case, it makes sense for Raddon to leave, if the Film Festival wants to remain a respectable festival. Or he could stay, and the Film Festival can become the equivalent of the Neo-Nazi film festival or the Mormon Film Festival or some other kind of special interest travesty.

In other words, Raddon wasn't "blacklisted" from working and making a living. He was essentially put into a position where if he didn't resign, the group he represented wouldn't be able to continue to afford the respect it wanted from the community it wanted to serve.

Which was, I think, essentially correct. Raddon's resignation was the proper response to a properly targeted boycott. He's perfectly capable of going out and volunteering for some other organization that's more reflective of his views.

By the way, all those of you on the right who think people should stop declaring boycotts over the Prop 8 issue - where were you when these guys were declaring a boycott of Google for supporting No on 8?

Seems you only like boycotts if they're on your side of the issue.


Unknown said...

Urm, I don't see how your distinction works. In the earlier case of Scott Eckern, he was the artistic director (how is this different from board chairman for the purposes of this analysis?) of the California Musical Theater. He was forced to resign because his presence there made it impossible for CMT "to remain a respectable [Theater]." Numerous musical theater luminaries (Marc Shaiman chief among them) threatened to boycott CMT if Eckern stayed. Eckern COULD have stayed, and CMT could have become "the Neo-Nazi [theater] or the Mormon [theater] or some other kind of special interest travesty." But obviously that was not a viable course for the CMT board, just as it was not for the LA Film Independent board.

And Eckern has not been "blacklisted" any more than Raddon has. They can both still earn a living in entertainment -- though they might have to do it in Salt Lake City.

Martin Schecter said...

I think the distinction is that in Raddon's position as Chairman, his presence was much more officially that of someone who "spoke" for the LA Film Festivan than Eckern's position as artistic director of CMT.

In my other piece, I didn't object to artists at CMT not working with Eckern, but felt he should be able to keep his job. I realize that as artistic director he still had authority but I still saw him ultimately more as an employee than as management. Maybe CMT decided they couldn't keep Eckern if artists objected to working with him - but that's not how, as I understand it, the situation transpired. It seemed the pressure to remove Eckern came widely from the community at large and was directed towards specifically removing him.

Maybe others saw Eckern's position as more a symbolic representative of CMT than I did; maybe his authority over CMT was as extensive as Raddon's position vis a vis the LA Festival. I'm not that familiar with CMT so it's possible his position there was more central than I realize. In which case, you're right.

I know it's a very fine, subjective distinction, but I feel we need to try to draw a line between making the political point that organizations that want to do business with the community need to wake up to the importance of this issue, and getting into the trap of targetting individuals for retribution....

Your point about Eckern not being "blacklisted" is well taken though. What happened to him still hardly compares to what Prop 8 did to married couples in California.

Unknown said...

Eckern's title was "Artistic Director and Chief Operating Officer." That sounds like management to me.

Martin Schecter said...

I did not know that.

Well then, as Emily Litella used to say, "never mind."