by: Michael Hulshof-Schmidt on November 5th, 2013 | 12 Comments »
Let’s be clear from the outset. Every ticket sold for the movie Ender’s Game enhances the wealth and status of a celebrity who has used his power to promote homophobia. Orson Scott Card has been an enormously successful science fiction and fantasy author and has used his wealth and fame to denigrate and oppose the LGBT community at every turn. Every outlet that promotes the film without acknowledging Card’s opinions and influence is colluding with his hateful efforts.
I write this article with a great sadness and heaviness upon my heart, given the first major promotional piece I saw for the film. I was watching the Graham Norton Show as Harrison Ford was promoting the movie. Shame on Graham Norton for even giving airtime to the nefarious Card and sustaining a heterosexist culture. How ironic that precious minutes of his show were so exceedingly harmful to the LGBT community, including Norton himself.
As we were watching Ford promote the movie, my husband wondered if perhaps Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, and Ben Kingsley (all three of whom I love and respect) were unaware of the harm done by Card’s aggressive homophobia. Their ignorance of Card’s harm is quite possible, but this in and of itself speaks to a great amount of privilege that comes with obliviousness.
Sadly, Ford acknowledges the atrociousness of Card’s anti-gay efforts, but rationalizes and justifies Ender’s Game by saying, “the movie is not homophobic.” I have considered Ford and the others to be allies of the LGBT community. Sadly, even our allies have the luxury of retreating to the safety of the dominant culture and thus contribute to the oppression of LGBT folk around the world.
Orson Scott Card has referred to LGBT folk as “mentally ill,”and in his now famous essay from 1990 advocates making/keeping homosexuality illegal. In 2008, Card actively joined the Prop. 8 movement and called same-sex marriage a “mortal enemy” that he would seek to destroy. Of course, he also pulls out the pedophilia notion and tries to claim that homosexuals are all pedophiles. He was a board member of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) until just recently and apparently resigned to minimize controversy before the film opened.
Lionsgate, the studio releasing the film, is pushing the “not a homophobic story” meme, hoping that the success of the novel will overwhelm the nastiness of its author. Card is suspiciously quiet, avoiding a screenwriting credit and avoiding the convention panels that an author would typically attend to promote a film. Even the details of his compensation are less public than usual. All of this smacks of an effort to quell controversy, so as to allow for greater income – income that will be used to hurt LGBT people.
Even if Card does not make another dime from the film itself, he has already profited from selling the rights. His books will sell because of the movie. He certainly will profit from the toys, games, and other merchandise. The more successful the movie, the more he is rewarded. For anyone who believes in fair and just treatment of the LGBT community, this is unacceptable.
Artists and their creations are separate things, and it is sometimes possible to appreciate a song or story or painting regardless of its creator’s personality. Sometimes however, the person overwhelms the work. Card’s steadfast efforts to destroy the lives of LGBT people around the world is such an example.
CALL TO ACTION: Boycott this film. Encourage others to do the same. Show the studios and moguls that promoting the work of a public figure who has used his power to slander and dehumanize the gay community is not profitable.