Raddon Is Gone

Contrary to what MCN’s David Poland reported on 11.14, L.A. Film Festival director Rich Raddon did not, I’m told, tender his resignation to the FIND board a day earlier over the revelation that he’d donated $1500 in support of Proposition 8 — the California gay-marriage-ban amendment that passed on 11.4. Raddon did, however, submit his resignation yesterday, and it was accepted.

Former L.A. Film Festival director Rich Raddon, Effie Brown

The Raddon/FIND/Prop. 8 situation was inflamed or at least re-addressed in a Sunday L.A. Times article by Rachel Abramowitz that ran two days ago.

Abramowitz wrote that Raddon “offered to resign last week.” Verbally, she apparently means, and not in the form of a letter that said “I resign.” What I’m told is that Raddon “never resigned, ever, so when the board voted unanimously, they weren’t voting not to accept the resignation, although they did decide not to fire him.”

In any case, the anger about the $1500 wouldn’t go away, and after Abramowitz’s article it was time to fold the hand.

“‘There is still roiling debate within [FIND],” distributor Howard Cohen, a gay advisor to the film festival, told Abramowitz. “Is it okay to let this go? There are a lot of gay people who work at Film Independent. The issue has not been closed.” .

Director Gregg Araki “has said he won’t allow his films to be shown at the L.A. Film Festival,” Abramowitz reported. “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 said that 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.’

Raddon declined to talk to Abramowitz, but Dawn Hudson, executive director of Film Independent, said, “Are we happy with his donation? No. But he has a right to his religious and personal beliefs.”

Outside Hollywood’s left-liberal, gay-friendly political arena, that is.

Raddon’s departing statement is included in this Indiewire story.

  • storymark

    Anyone else get the impression that whenever he gets to post an item correcting Poland, Jeff is forced to balance his keyboard on his erection?

  • buckzollo

    Anyone else wonder if/what documentarian has been on top of this in real time. Also curious if Raddon will now write “what he knows.” He seemed like such a nice clean articulate guy.

  • DarienStyles

    This is an issue I take in a very serious way. I agree with Gregg Araki, if a member of a film festival had donated for a racist or anti-semitic campaign, then his actions would have not been excused. Sadly, homophobia is still accepted bigotry, as long as it comes from religion(!).
    Instead of feeling sorry for Mr. Raddon, what about those gay couples who can’t get married ? What about them ? They are the true victims, not the people who donated and voted for an unjust law.
    If Hollywood is left-liberal and a gay-friendly arena, Mr. Wells, then I’m happy for it.

  • K. Bowen

    Thank goodness that the forces of tolerance have succeeded in having someone lose his job over his political opinion.

  • storymark

    Not just opinion, Bowen – action. There is a difference, whether you wish to see it or not.

    And he didn’t lose his job – he gave it up.

  • K. Bowen

    Gave it up under pressure.

    What if the majority of Californians who voted in favor of the amendment were demanding that supporters of gay marriage lose their jobs? Once you cross that line, you’re in McCarthy territory.

  • corey3rd

    If somebody insults you, are you just going to smile and be extra polite while they spew their venom? Or you going to stand ground and fire back?

    If Raddon worked in a school for special needs kids and declared he believed Michael Savage was right that all autistic kids need is to get slapped to be cured, would you send your kid to his school? And not only declared it, but sent Savage $1,500 to spread the word that your autistic kid is a fraud. You gonna want to walk up and play nice with Raddon?

    He became a liability to this film festival. And we live in a world where money and attention is tight. He had to be taken behind the barn and removed from the game.

    He really could use that $1,500 this week. Maybe when his stomach grumbles after is fifth straight meal of Ramen noodles, he’ll remember that he had better things to spend his money on.

  • lazarus

    And one other thing, Bowen, he didn’t lose his job because of his opinion. He lost it because he put a sizable amount of money behind that opinion, and the campaign waged to help pass Prop 8 (which was funded in part by that money) was filled with intolerance and untruths.

    I don’t think anyone at FIND would try to blackball Haddon just based on his religion and/or his political stance stemming from the doctrine of his church. But to be active enough to fund something is a whole other story.

  • richlb

    He didn’t give up his job; he sacrificed it to save the LA Film Festival. Supporting the proponents of a ballot initiative is not homophobia. But the vindictive nature of the anti-8 crowd is a sort of Bizarro-McCarthyism. Supporters of gay marriage would be better served to educate the public on the advantages of universal marriage rights than to berate and curse those that disagree. As of now they stoop to the level of the Westboro Baptist Church.

  • K. Bowen

    Yep, and producers in the fifties simply chose not to work with the blacklisted writers, right?

    You guys can dress it up however you like. Mobs always have their own truths and self-justifications.. But he was sitting there one day doing his job to apparently everyone’s satisfaction until his political beliefs became unfashionable in the circles in which he runs. If the situation were reversed, it would be regarded as an affront to justice.

  • Celebrity Werewolf Hunter

    If Raddon was as strong in his faith as he proclaims, he should have had no problem keeping his job, knowing that he did the right thing in the eyes of his God.

    Not only does he hold intolerant beliefs and hide behind the notion of religious freedom as his justification for a basic lack of human inequality, but he is also a coward for not standing up for those beliefs in the face of his detractors. I would have had more respect for the man if he openly proclaimed what he believed and why he believed it and stayed at his current position in the face of those calling for his dismissal. He ran away.

  • storymark

    The idea that people withholding their patronage from people who worked specifically to supress their rights is “McCarthyism” is such a complete load of bullshit. All those who make that defense are either intellectually dishonest, or just desperate to excuse bigotry. Despicable.

    Yeah, he quit his job under pressure – pressure that came as a direct result of his actions – actions which have a direct result on his clientelle.

    Actions have consequences, and he’s a big boy. If he can’t reap what he’s sown, fuck him.

  • D.Z.

    Bowen: “What if the majority of Californians who voted in favor of the amendment were demanding that supporters of gay marriage lose their jobs?”

    They just demand that gay couples lose benefits, and that gay people can’t have jobs as teachers or Boy Scout leaders.

  • storymark

    “Yep, and producers in the fifties simply chose not to work with the blacklisted writers, right?”

    As I was saying about intellectual dishonesty….

    If he had been fired, you might have a point. But it wasn’t the bosses who withheld their patronage – the parrallel you are attempting to draw. It’s the clients and public. Different scenario.

    But thanks for making my point for me.

  • lazarus

    Again, Bowen refuses to acknowledge the difference between having an opinion, and donating $1500 to try and enforce it as law.

    Why don’t you stay out of the discussion if you’re going to ignore the real problem people have with what he did? Again, it’s not the thought, it’s the action.

  • Deathtongue_Groupie

    I think it’s the amount that sunk him.

    Had it just been the standard $100, he could say “Look, it’s my church and they asked. I didn’t really think it through that well it was such a small amount.” But at $1500, it means you had to seriously ponder it, unless Dawn Hudson was paying him like $300K a year or something.

    Any points I would make about the stubbornly obtuse K. Bowen have already been magnificently made by storymark.

    You don’t fucking vote on human rights – how hard is it to get this into your thick fucking skulls???

  • richlb

    Outside of this one individual, it is the overall behavior of the anti-8 crowd that is appalling. Again, they’d be better served funneling their disappointment into a positive direction than humiliating little old ladies fresh from a church service. In the end i suspect the amendment will be ruled unconstitutional, and personally i don’t agree with the proposition.

  • Mjs

    I find it hard to believe that K.Bowen is really this thick.

  • MilkMan

    Hey, y’all, did you know that the black people in the 60s who boycotted restaurants and public transportation in order to be treated as equals were just like Joe McCarthy?

    What kind of sub-grunt level of bullshit rhetoric is this? Gay people who put pressure on those who would DENY THEM BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS are now considered Neo-McCarthyites? Nice try. That sounds like an argument that an 8 year old would make.”No I’m not! You are!”

    Raddon fucked up. Big time. Your actions have consequences. This is how the adult word works.

  • D.Z.

    rich: “Again, they’d be better served funneling their disappointment into a positive direction than humiliating little old ladies fresh from a church service.”

    Well, Phelps didn’t mind humiliating families of dead Iraq vets with his homophobic rants. And Bush didn’t mind humiliating prisoners he’d rounded up for his little pre-genocide of Iraqis.

  • buckzollo

    K. Bowen the great thing about the internet, a forum, hollywood-elsewhere, etc. is that regardless of whether I agree or disagree with you, there is something cool about the mother fucking tribe speaking here and delivering a clear vedict for you to STFU. I am not mad or anything just STFU.

  • http://jermsguy.blogspot.com TheJERMSguy

    Maybe Raddon didn’t want fake anthrax mailed to his house.

  • ROTC

    It is not intolerant to vigorously oppose intolerance.

    And it does not promote the goal of diversity to employ someone who actively and generously finances campaigns that are precisely targeted against the goal of diversity.