The Rich Raddon/Proposition 8 situation that MCN’s David Poland revealed yesterday afternoon is a bugger, no question. I don’t know what to finally think or say — I’m truly torn and feeling badly for the guy, but at the same time amazed that someone in the liberal Hollywood tent would declare himself to be in opposition of gay-marriage rights. It’s one of those “what?” situations.
L.A. Film Festival director Rich Raddon, producer Effie Brown.
Poland uncovered the fact that Raddon, director of FIND’s LA Film Festival, came up on a “Yes On 8” donation list to the tune of $1500.
“Rich is a well-liked guy,” he wrote. “He is not secretive about being a Mormon. And he could end up losing his job over this. FIND’s position is that no one can be fired from a job over their religious beliefs, so Rich is still employed.
“And I must say, positions amongst FIND insiders are widely varied. The phrase ‘witch hunt’ has been used…as has ‘I can’t see ever sitting down at a meeting table with him again.'”
Raddon is well liked and well respected. I’ve known and admired him for years. He cares about independent film, is very smart and politically adept (except for this mind-bending dip in the road), and has performed energetically and enthusiastically as the director of the L.A. Film Festival. But the fundamental political rule in every land and culture is “when in Rome, do as the Romans do” so what the hell? On a political-smarts basis alone, what Raddon did was extremely unwise.
Is there anyone who disputes that the now-voted-upon-and-passed Proposition 8, which denies the right of gay people in California to marry, is an expression of bigotry? I’m not aware of there being any basis for ambiguity about where Prop Hate is coming from. Ugly-spirited Mormons, Orange County righties and bigots of all stripes supported it. There are, I suppose, political causes more repugnant than supporting Proposition 8, but what would they be exactly?
(l. to r.) Raddon, Film Independent’s Dawn Hudson, actor Don Cheadle, Film Independent’s Rachel Rosen
There’s a way to make this all go away. Raddon, and I say this as a friend, needs to put out a statement clarifying his views on gay marriage — why exactly does he support the Mormon view on this measure? — and fully explain the basis of his (presumably) religious objections to same. Nobody wants to see him gone, but his financial support of Proposition 8 has put his neck in the wringer.
Am I saying that everyone in the Hollywood community has to be pro-gay marriage? No — I’m saying that because many strongly disagree with and are appalled at Raddon’s support for Prop Hate, he’s created a problem for himself and needs to do what he can do fix it.
Others in the liberal entertainment community have criticized Proposition 8, including, believe it or not, Elton John. A recent USA Today story quotes John as having said in 2005 that he and partner David Furnish are “not married. Let’s get that right. We have a civil partnership. What is wrong with Proposition 8 is that they went for marriage. Marriage is going to put a lot of people off, the word marriage. I don’t want to be married. I’m very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership. The word ‘marriage,’ I think, puts a lot of people off.”
A connected industry friend was outraged this morning when told about Poland’s statement that Raddon “could end up losing his job over this.” He said, “This is McCarthyism. .I could not be more opposed to Yes on 8, but I am totally opposed to any sort of witch hunt. It’s pure and simple McCarthyism. I am not anti-gay. I am liberal enough and open enough to accept all sorts of views, to agree to disagree. This is a free country the last time I checked.
“The people who are behind Prop 8 probably are bigots. I find most of their views reprehensible. I find the whole Mormon business…the fact that Mormon culture condones multiple marriages and then turns around and condemns gay marriage. Look in your own house first. I think Rich is like Sherri Shepherd who said on The View that she had serious religious-based reservations about Proposition 8.
“If Raddon has said I support the American Nazi Party or the Ku Klux Klan, I would say get out of my life. Because we have to have standards that respect human life and basic morality. Peronsally I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with them. But that’s not this . It’s ridiculous to associate these hate groups with Proposition 8. People who do so need to get a life.”