L.A. Film Festival Director Rich Raddon Steps Down Over Prop. 8 Donation

Score one for the “off with his head” crowd. After donating $1,500 to the Yes on 8 Campaign, Film Independent’s Richard Raddon has stepped down as director of the L.A. Film Festival.

Raddon had previously tendered his resignation and the board unanimously refused to accept it, but that bit of political theatre failed to mollify the gay community and the threat of a massive gay boycott turned out to be enough to pressure Raddon to resign for real this time.

We told you yesterday how A-List gay Hollywood was divided on the issue, with older directors like Bill Condon arguing that those who donated to Prop. 8 saw it “not as a civil rights issue but a religious one. That is their right. And it is not, in and of itself, proof of bigotry” and younger, indie filmmakers like Gregg Araki countering:

“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.”

While conservatives will undoubtedly argue that the threat of boycott’s (they’ll probably term it something like “angry gay mob forces director from post”) will have a chilling effect on those who would speak up with their voices or wallets against marriage equality, our rejoinder is, “Yes, that’s the point.”

People have a right to speak up and say what they want or donate to a cause, but with that right comes the responsibility to live up to the consequences of their actions. If publicly donating to a cause that stripped the civil rights of many of the people you work with and for makes those people not want to support you or the organization you run, that choice was yours, not theirs. It was Raddon, not the gay community, that put the L.A. Film Festival at risk of a boycott and so, today’s resignation was his decision and nobody else’s.