Boycott Ender’s Game: My Disappointment with Harrison Ford…

31 Oct

Ender's Game (2013) trailer HARRISON FORD (Screengrab)Let’s be clear from the outset. Every ticket sold for the movie Ender’s Game enhances the wealth and well-being of a notorious homophobe. 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 vile 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 movieShame 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 the homophobic hypocrite Card.  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 atrocities of the awful Card, but rationalizes and justifies the work 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 Prop8 movement and called same-sex marriage a “mortal enemy”  that he would seek to destroy.  Of course, he pulls out the pedophilia notion and tries to claim that homosexuals are 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. The fact that Card asserts that paraphilia and homosexuality are linked, is evidence that this man is obsessed with man on man sex.  One wonders what is hiding in Card’s closet.  He and Ken Cuccinelli would make a great couple.

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 notorious homophobe is not profitable.

26 Responses to “Boycott Ender’s Game: My Disappointment with Harrison Ford…”

  1. Brad Fairchild October 31, 2013 at 5:53 am #

    thank you, michael, for giving attention to this. I haven’t seen much about it in a while and i was disappointed that no one seemed to care. i should have known you would.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt October 31, 2013 at 5:57 am #

      Brad, thank you for commenting here and for your voice for social justice. I know you will be educating people and encouraging them to boycott this movie as we stand in solidarity with all LGBT folk around the world.

  2. Joan Ayala October 31, 2013 at 6:01 am #

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I had no idea. Please know that you can count on me to boycott this movie and to encourage others to do the same. On a happier note. Cleveland Highschool has elected a same sex couple to Homecoming court. When interviewed, the students said it was ” no big deal”. Adults can learn a lot from our children.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt October 31, 2013 at 6:06 am #

      Joan, as always, thank you for being such a strong ally to the LGBT community and boycotting this movie as a sign of your solidarity. Yes, what great news that Cleveland High School, here in Portland, Oregon elected a same-sex couple for Homecoming.

  3. dykewriter October 31, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    Reblogged this on dyke writer and commented:
    Perhaps the more effective boycott

    is the studio who made it in the first place, eh?

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt October 31, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

      Nina, certainly on a systems level we should boycott Lionsgate. Thank you for reblogging this.

      • dykewriter November 1, 2013 at 11:39 am #

        The person to target is the person who greenlighted the movies.

        more precisely

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt November 1, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

        Nina, I fear there is more than just the person who “green lighted” the project. There are all the voices that colluded and are thus implicated.

      • dykewriter November 1, 2013 at 11:40 am #

        I have a real hate on for the entertainment industry

        I spent last spring talking to activists across Africa on how to get things accomplished

        so activism is what I do

        education and awareness

        I keep talking to people who don’t listen
        and sometimes I get lucky and someone talks back

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt November 1, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

        Nina, I’m just grateful that you are out trying to engage folks!

      • dykewriter November 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

        I am just trying to find people who are nice to talk to

        the spillover is a side effect for me

        but it’s what people give me credit for

        it’s frustrating

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt November 1, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

        Nina, there is great merit in engaging people in meaningful conversations around social justice.

      • dykewriter November 2, 2013 at 10:58 am #

        Yes. those are the conversations that I crave

        it’s the lessor social ones that stymie me

  4. Central Oregon Coast NOW October 31, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    Reblogged this on Central Oregon Coast NOW.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt October 31, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

      Nancy, thank you for reflagging this and bringing awareness as to why paying to see this movie directly supports harming the LGBT community.

  5. jim smith October 31, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    Thank you Michael. Most folks, myself included, were totally unaware of Mr. Card and his views. Obliviousness is the privilege of the unimpaired classes. Thank you.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt October 31, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

      Jim, thank you for your constant solidarity.

      • Devon November 1, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

        I was unsure what to think about this. I don’t really have a horse in the race since I strongly disliked the book and wasn’t going to see it anyway.
        On the one hand, there’s not really anything of OSC’s awful views in the book (or movie) and in fact they were kind of not well known at all when Liosngate greenlighted the project. And it seems perhaps a bit unfair to the rest of the folks involved in the movie to hold their feet to the fire over OSC’s off-movie insanity.
        On the other hand, when OSC had a gig doing “superman”, the comic artist (two of them in succession, I think) resigned over being associated with OSC’s views. So Harrison Ford et al really ought to have the strength of character to follow suit.
        In the end it may be a moot issue:

        Like I said, I couldn’t stand the story anyway. I thought it was clumsy and ham-fisted. I would never watch the movie. I wonder what I’d do if I’d discovered that one of my favorite authors had views like OSC. I used to enjoy Tom Clancy, but when his conservativism started to creep into his novels, it was easy to drop him. What if it hadn’t made it into the novels, though? What if I couldn’t tell without reading his op-eds in the WSJ? I hope I’m never faced with that hypothetical.



  6. penguinlad November 1, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    Hey Devon – you’ve clearly given this some thought, but I’m afraid you’ve missed a couple of key points. As Michael notes, it is tricky balancing the work and the creator. Card’s aggressive, hostile, damaging behavior tips him over the edge for me and for most people I know, even if his books aren’t specifically homophobic. (Curiously, I know several people who share your dim opinion of the books and have seen many similar comments online recently…)
    As for how much money Card makes from the movie, two thoughts. First, as Michael writes in the main post, the damage is done. Buying a movie ticket rewards the studio for paying him in the first place. It also promotes his other work. Second, I’ve seen the “Card will make nothing” posts as well. Color me skeptical. Nobody is willing to speak on the record, which seems odd. Given the great lengths the studio, actors, and author have gone to in building a firewall between the toxic Card and the film, those claims seem questionable.

    • Devon November 1, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

      Sure, the claim that OSC will make no money is suspect (although, my understanding is that he sold the movie rights for a bit of a pittance many many years ago, before he had any leverage.) And I agree that OSC’s behavior probably ought to get him jailed (It sure looks like he is urging people to armed insurrection). I didn’t really place too much weight on the “card will make nothing”.
      I’d like to think I’d boycott OSC even if it was a really good book. I would be in a tough place though. Certainly we all have read books or watched movies that were penned by really vile misogynists.

      • Devon November 1, 2013 at 6:06 pm #

        And Michael, I don’t watch more than a few movies a year, and so I know nothing about the movie industry. What’s particularly objectionable about Lionsgate? That’s an honest question; I really do know nothing about them.
        I imagine that they bought the rights to “Ender’s Game” many decades ago, before OSCs insane views were known to more than a handful, so ‘rewarding them for paying him in the first place” seems a bit moot. Harrison Ford, on the other hand, doesn’t have that excuse.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt November 1, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

        Devon, I appreciate your comments and your engagement in the conversation.

  7. Will S. November 1, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    I was going to boycott this film anyway, just because everyone I knew growing up who enjoyed this book was a raging douche. Seems like Card was in good company there, and now I have an even better reason to not see this POS movie.

    Thanks, Michael, for pointing out the $ connection there. Not a dime of my money goes anywhere near it

  8. Sugar Puppy November 1, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    This is maddening. I am so tired of the homophobia. Perhaps I am obtuse but I don’t understand the need to deny rights to people different that the “norm.” They should all know better.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt November 2, 2013 at 7:56 am #

      Yes, it is maddening and exhausting to continue the education of folk around homophobia. Thank you for helping educate people that paying to see this movie does in fact help fund Card, a nefarious homophobe with an agenda to hurt.

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