KCRW Hollywood Industry Talk Show Host Decries “Pink List”

In what host Claude Brodesser-Akner called “a rant on behalf of the entire editorial staff of The Business“, the Hollywood industry talk show on KCRW took the gay community to task today for its threatened boycotts, equating them with the Hollywood blacklists of the 50s. You can listen to the podcast here. Responding to the resignation of L.A. Film Festival director Richard Raddon after his donation to Prop. 8 was discovered, the host said:

“Personally we think that Raddon’s support of the campaign was wrongheaded and donating to the campaign, given the nature of his job, was naive but we also think that the real issue is how his personal views affected or didn’t affect the films that he chose for the festival. In fact, by all accounts it’s been the very model of inclusion and open-mindedness under his stewardship.

Raddon’s censure feels an awful lot we’re headed back to a time in Hollywood none of us should want to revisit. It was called the Black List. Let’s not shame ourselves with a Pink List to go with it.”

You would think that The Business would know what the black list was. Brodesser-Akner falsely compares marriage equality advocates publicly calling for the resignation of someone who funded an effort to deny someone their civil rights with studio bosses privately refusing to hire writers, actors and other creatives who were considered to be “communists.” One is public civil action, the other private discrimination. In short, there’s no comparison.

It’s also odd that The Business thinks the measuring stick by which Raddon should be judged is the quality of his work on the job. As my Nana might say, “What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?” Radon’s decision to donate to the Yes on 8 campaign was his, and if it upsets people, that’s their right as well. It’s not blacklisting to refuse to spend your money on organizations run by leaders who contribute money to campaigns that strip you of your civil rights.

No secret gay cabal made the decision that Richard Radon should step down, he did. That he bowed to public pressure is his choice and, in our view, the appropriate and responsible choice to make. In an industry where rumors that you’re gay can derail a movie deal and gays and lesbians are relegated too often second-tier roles, it’s ironic and disappointing that Brodesser-Akner and his staff fear a non-existent tyranny of the minority.

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  • Joe Moag

    I am not at all (thankfully) familiar with Brodesser-Alner and this radio show. Is he known for half-assery generally, or is this his coming out schtick on being a clueless imbecile?

  • Chris

    They usually don’t wade into this, and KCRW is a good station — but when I called the producer to ask him why he didn’t put Prop 8 in proper/full context. He told me “I don’t do a civil rights show”. Well, if you going to bring it up on your show, then you’d better tell the full story — Journalism 101.

  • ask ena


  • Dan in PS

    Call KCRW 310-450-5183

    Or email them: [email protected]

  • niles

    This guy must have gotten his talking points from the American Family Association. So now, not only have our basic rights been taken away, but we are not supposed to be upset or try to retaliate against the oppressors. To that argument I say go f*ck yourselves, you bunch of hypocritical *ssholes – you know you who are.

  • ggreen

    When there are rumblings that there is life out side their inner sanctum (rectum) H’wood insiders tremble in fear and lash out at any and all the challenge their company town view of the world. This guy sounds like a complete tool. That photo says carb faced and boozed up constantly looking for the swag (most likely so he can hock it).

  • REBELComx

    I’m sorry, but wasn’t the Black List more of an unwritten government or Hollywood producer thing which basically singled out people who had Communist views during the 50’s? I thought it was the whole MCCarthyism thing, fear that these people might be spies or that their communistic viewpoints might be a danger to the American public.
    I fail to see how a social minority boycotting people or organizations who helped to wipe out their civil rights is the same thing.
    By this guys logic, the Right Wing Christianist nutjobs have been “Black listing” companies for AIDING us in our civil rights fight for years.

  • jack

    well writ, japhy. as a man old enough to remember the blacklist days, you said exactly what i had running through my mind for my response.

    i don’t know if it is mandatory for that station/show to address the entire issue, although it would be fair, but it is incumbent that they/he understand that two entirely different mechanisms are under discussion.

    the black list, in words of one syllable, was a top down act, whereas a boycott is a bottom up act.

    artists have a right to choose their venues based on their individual criteria, and i, the consumer, have a right to make my purchases according to my criteria, and to make those criteria known, to the press, and to management.

    in the “macaca” era where a political career is ended by one careless phrase, it is beyond naive to piss on your patronage under cover and think it will go unnoticed and unremarked. it is stupid, and it is career suicide.

  • Vito in PSP

    Right on, Queerty! I listen to the station all day long and Brodesser-Akner is way wrong on this one and shouldn’t be allowed to squirrel his way out of it. Contact Ruth Seymour, the station’s GM (www.kcrw.com -> About -> Who Does What -> pick Ruth Seymour) and let her know what’s going on; FYI, the station has its winter pledge drive coming up next month.

  • Raphael

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I also thought that the problem with the Hollywood Blacklist was about suspected communist sympathizers, not proven supporters of prop 8.

    Talk about apples and oranges!

  • Johan

    If you do call the station, the extension for Matt Holzmann (producer of KCRW’s The Business) is 4622. Just dial 310-450-5183 and enter the extension at the appropriate prompt, and then you can easily let him know how this recent episode made you fee, how disappointed you are in their lack of journalistic integrity, or (as I did) how that lapse, if unaddressed in a future show, will cost them your ongoing/future membership revenues.

  • mcc


    – Government and movie production cartels who control the fundamental ability to make movies granting access to that ability based on a formal process of ideological exclusion


    Customers choosing not to patronize certain movie-related businesses based on those businesses fueling ideologies those customers disagree with, allowing those business elements to continue operation but with a smaller potential customer base

    Are equivalent?

  • mark

    This SAME garbage was spewed by Briebart about two weeks ago when Laura Ingrams sat in for Bill O’Reilly…you’d think the Christian Reich could come up with more than ONE script.
    The last queer to Black List was Roy Cohn…dumb sh*t, and he did it with Joe McCarthy. Blacklisting was the GOVERNMENT demanding names of feared commie pinkos, and ordering studios to not hire them. Not buying from Companys with their MOTHERF*CKIN foot on our throats is self preservation and savvy business.
    Don’t be p*ssed that when WE boycott…IT WORKS.

  • michael

    This shows how seriously people out there are taking us. It is they that are trying to blacklist us as gays. They want to punish us for standing up for our rights by making us afraid. Don’t let it work!
    The anti-christ is cunning in his maneuvers, (well if they are going to compare us to something as ridiculous as the McCarthy era then I will compare them to something equally ridiculous), we are being shown that Hollywood is just like everybody else, they will sell their soul to Satan for the all mighty dollar.

  • Kersu

    I just sent my “rant” to the head of KCRW – please do the same if you have ever given this station a donation. Here is my letter to Ruth Seymour:

    I have been a fervent supporter of KCRW for over nine years so I was extremely disappointed to hear yesterday’s “rant” on The Business comparing the gay community’s boycott of organizations that have discriminated against their rights to the blacklists of the 50s.

    It is unfortunate that the host, Claude Brodesser-Akner was merely ranting “on behalf of the entire editorial staff” of the program instead of researching the facts. The Hollywood Blacklist was about preventing suspected Communists from working in the entertainment industry. A social minority boycotting people or institutions who indisputably helped to wipe out their existing civil rights is not the same thing.

    When the director of the LA Film festival donated $1,500 to the Yes on 8 campaign, it was him, not the gay community, that put this festival at risk of a boycott. If Richard Raddon had donated the same amount of money to a campaign against interracial marriage in the 60s and still chosen to screen movies with African Americans or Jews, I wonder if your host would have excused Raddon’s support of the campaign as merely “naïve” or “wrongheaded”. In any case, the “real issue” is not whether Raddon’s personal views affected the films he did or did not choose for the festival. The real issue is that a lot of people were hurt when Raddon irresponsibly signed a check that helped eliminate the rights of a minority group.

    As the head of an organization that has been “the very model of inclusion and open-mindedness”, Richard Raddon should have known better. As the host of a show on one of the preeminent radio stations in California, Cluade Brodesser-Akner should have done his homework better!

    I am still undecided whether I will exercise my right to rant – by not renewing my KCRW subscription in 2009. However, I am certain that I will not be tuning in to The Business and the irresponsible journalism of its incompetent editorial staff.

  • Qjersey

    another idiot pundit with a platform who doesn’t know jack.

    If the PINK LIST was like the black list people could lose or not be hired for work because:

    -they associate with known homophobes
    -they went to a mormon wedding
    -a family member converted to mormonism
    -they had intimate relations or dated a mormon
    -three people told us you associate with mormons

    The black list was insidious and evil.

    The PINK list is no different from the old (and still going on depending who you talk to) Coors Boycott.

    You’re against us, so you aren’t getting our business.
    It’s just that simple.

  • tallskin

    Fuck them.

    Pay no attention.

    This is all about gays getting power and using it to further our interests.

    If they don’t like tough, they’ll have to live with it.

  • ajax

    Where is GLAAD? YTF isn’t GLAAD contacting this hack and his station? Why isn’t GLAAD asking for an editorial retraction?

  • Cam

    Um, there is a HUGE difference. The black list was used by powerful studio heads etc… to not hire people. This “Pink List” is a list of bigoted people/businesses that gays, a small discriminated against minority, can use to find out which businesses to avoid.

    If this D.J. found out that a business had donated money to a group that advocated beating up women, would he allow his wife to shop there? Well these Prop 8 Supporters are advocating hurting me. It is not wrong for me to want to avoid supporting them in their efforts. It would be like telling blacks that avoiding a business owned by a Klansmen was wrong of them. This guy is obviously an idiot.

  • Paul Raposo

    Here’s what this hypicrital piece of shit had to say during the writer’s strike:

    “Correct, and they feel very strongly that the past not be their future. The great debate over is how anyone is to be paid for digital distribution, movies or TV shows that you would download on to your computer. And the writers want to make sure that they get their fair share going forward.


    So, he defends whiny writers who wanted more money, but trashes gays who want equality. He supports the writer’s right to strike and cripple media production, but trashed gays who boycott for their rights. What a douchebag

  • blake


    It was more than people who had Communist views. Anyone who had the barest association with a Communist could be brought before the Senate. Lucille Ball was forced to testify about her father.

    People who had no Communist ties were also affected.

    The reality is that “Hollywood” is not a liberal town. It’s actually quite conservative. There are some people who are powerful and are “liberal.” But most studios are part of mega corporations, like Disney or Time Warner. The heads of both until recently were Republicans.

    A truthful examination of Hollywood’s products would show it guilty of pushing the worst sexist, racist, and homophobic stereotypes for generations. Only on rare occasions has it ventured away from the “mainstream.” Look at how older actresses are still easily discarded.

  • CC

    Though Claude Brodesser-Akner’s logic is flawed ,I think he was saying no one should be pressured to resign over a stance on this issue. I would hate to lose my job if I was pro-life or pro-choice; an equally charged issue in social/religious/moral sences. I don’t agree with the guy’s analogy, nor making kcrw his podium on it, but I see his point.

  • fredg

    There is a pink-list and those pretending otherwise are either delusional or just don’t want to face that. Is it exactly like the black list of the ’50s? In scale, no, but in quality, yes. There will be people not hired solely upon this basis. I’m not a supporter of Prop 8 and I think government should either not be in the business of letting people get married or let anyone get married. But I also think it’s wrong to hire or not hire based on what they believe. This seems too close to thought-crime and much more like fundamentalist evangelicals than I care to be.

  • pekka jokinen (kersu)

    @Kersu: i only want to know if youe family is from finland !

Comments are closed.