Following His 'Yes on 8' Donation, LA Film Fest Director Richard Raddon ResignsFor all the rumblings about a Cinemark boycott at Sundance or an El Coyote fatwa after the anti-gay Proposition 8 passed, one troubling scenario hit a little closer to home for a newly mobilized gay Hollywood. Almost two weeks ago, it came to light that LA Film Festival director Richard Raddon gave $1500 to the "Yes on 8" cause, a revelation that caused Raddon to tender his resignation to Film Independent. At the time, the board did not accept Raddon's offer, though the move didn't quite stem the debate over Raddon's future and whether a potential boycott would devastate the festival when it returns next summer. Now, David Poland breaks word of a new development.According to Poland, Raddon's now resigned for real — and it isn't simply a gesture that Film Independent can reject. The move comes after reporters at the LAT finally seemed to realize, "Oh hey, a big juicy Hollywood story in our backyard. Maybe we should cover it?" Their weekend piece explored not only Raddon's donation but the division that exists within gay Hollywood over how to proceed:
Gregg Araki, director of the critically acclaimed gay cult hit "Mysterious Skin" and an influential figure in "new queer cinema," has said he won't allow his films to be shown [in Cinemark theaters], while others, such as "Milk" producers and gay activists Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, say they're going to "study in depth all the facets of our specific situation before making a decision." Araki says Raddon should step down. "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." Others are leery of punishing free speech, even if they consider it hateful. "I can't quite stomach the notion that you fire somebody because of what they believe. It doesn't feel right to me," says Christine Vachon, a pillar of gay cinema who produced such films as "Boys Don't Cry" and "Far From Heaven." [...] [Bill] Condon, the gay writer-director of "Dreamgirls" and a Film Independent board member, offered this retort to what he calls the "off-with-his-head" crowd: "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."
We're a little confused by what more proof Condon would need, but no matter! Now that Raddon is out, the festival planning can resume unabated, and the search for a new director can begin. Mickey Rourke, call your agent!