Come this November 1st, there will be a star-studded sci-fi action flick opening called “Ender’s Game.” “Game” is about an unusually bright child who gets sent to an advanced military camp, that happens to be located in outer space. The camp is for turning young adults into soldiers in preparation for an alien invasion. The child will be played by “Hugo” star Asa Butterfield. The movie will also star the likes of Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, and Oscar-nominated Hailee Steinfeld (who was incredible in “True Grit”) as a co-cadet. Sounds like the makings for an enormous success and an epic, thrilling movie. But countless Americans have already called a boycott on seeing this movie. Do you support gay rights? Then you might decide to join them.
“Ender’s Game,” is based on a novel by Orson Scott Card, an outspoken opponent of marriage equality with a decades-long history of making anti-gay public statements. In 2008, Card called for straight married Americans to unite to “destroy” their “mortal enemy,” and referred to U.S. government officials who supported same-sex marriages as “dictator-judges.” He is even on the board of the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex unions.
With the recent Supreme Court ruling to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, Card came out with a statement that his protests should now be considered “moot” when it comes to the movie. To quote one of my favorite columnists from my ultimate Bible, Mark Harris from Entertainment Weekly (who happens to be gay), “It’s hard to know where to begin to dismantle the smugness and intellectual dishonesty in Card’s words.” Current events do not make the fact that you are a bigoted jerk outdated or “of little or no practical meaning” (the definition of “moot”). It’s a fact that to see this movie will put money in this a-hole’s pocket.
However, “Ender’s Game” was made by a gay-friendly filmmaking team and Lionsgate, the production company, has made public statements rejecting Card’s beliefs. It’s a tough call. It sounds like it will be one of those movies that is best seen on the big screen, a cool alien-and-star-packed action adventure. And it’s not the actors, director, or key grips fault that the writer of the book the screenplay is based on is homophobic. The stars have been addressing the issue, most recently at the movie’s Comic-Con panel (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/19/enders-game-gay-rights-orson-scott-card-comic-con_n_3622611.html). But it seems outdated to support a person who is so outspoken about the hate and prejudice in their beliefs. As Harris states, “I understand the case that the art should be separated from the artist…I don’t believe that people who choose to see Ender’s Game are enemies of gay rights, but if you’re on the fence, here’s a compromise: Write a check for the cost of a movie ticket to an organization that opposes Card’s views, and then go enjoy the film with a clear conscience.”
What an (inter)stellar idea.
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