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Indie Film Non-Profit Conflict Over Prop 8

moronywood1.thumbnail.jpgAs a Mormon following his faith, director of the L.A. Film Festival Richard Raddon donated $1,500 to support Proposition 8.  Both the L.A. Film Festival and the Independent Spirit Awards are under the umbrella of Film Independent, a nonprofit arts organization with the explicit mission to promote diversity.

Last week, Raddon offered to resign as director when his donation to Yes on 8 came to light. But Film Independent’s board voted unanimously to keep him, according to the Los Angeles Times. Film Independent’s board includes many indie film supporters like Don Cheadle, Laura Bern, Forest Whitaker, Fox Searchlight President Peter Rice and Oscar-winning writer Bill Condon.

Dawn Hudson, executive director of Film Independent, said:

Are we happy with his donation? No. But he has a right to his religious and personal beliefs.

This raises questions: If his religious and personal beliefs, thus biased against another class of people, were revealed so visibly, would Raddon continue as director of the L.A. Film Festival? And is it okay for a person to have such views motivated by religion, but not-okay to hold bigoted views from any other perspective?

Director Gregg Araki, a leading figure in independent filmmaking commented to the LA Times:

I don’t think he should be forcibly removed. The bottom line is if he contributed money to a hateful campaign against black people, or against Jewish people, or any other minority group, there would be much less excusing of him. The terrible irony is that he runs a film festival that is intended to promote tolerance and equality.

Film Independent board member Bill Condon, the Oscar-winning writer-director of Dreamgirls responded:

If you’re asking, ‘Do we take discrimination against gays as seriously as bigotry against African Americans and Jews?’ . . . the answer is, ‘Of course we do.’ But we also believe that some people, including Rich, saw Prop. 8 not as a civil rights issue but a religious one. That is their right. And it is not, in and of itself, proof of bigotry.

WTF!? Two Film Independent board members say basically that as long as your desire to to remove civil rights from a group of people is based in your desire for salvation, that’s okay?  So then it’s all kumbaya to be a member of Christian Identity, because they hold a religious perspective that supports extremist views? facepalm.jpg srsly

Maybe it’s time for those religious people who believe that a subset of humanity deserve less rights to explore how their faith allows them to get a paycheck from organizations which support those less deserving. And also to look at how it is okay to be in a religion where it’s fine to be nice to teh gays at work while profoundly believing they shouldn’t get the same rights as you or your kids. Is this a reasonable god–one who promotes profiteering from the sinners’ works and acting deceitfully?

Theology aside, overall Prop 8 donations feel like a betrayal–knowing that while films are being celebrated and shown, enchiladas and margaritas served, the people directly responsible for that are secretly loathing and voting against civil rights because their faith tells them to. That’s nasty.

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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.