Palm Springs Theater Owner Exposed For Making Major Donations To Anti-Gay Politicians, Prop 8

Tucked away in Palm Springs is a movie theater complex called Camelot that shows mostly quirky indie films, hosts the local gay and lesbian film fest, and takes money from gay people to give to horrible politicians.

The news broke this weekend on a local blog, where a lawyer unveiled the results of a little campaign finance sleuthing. The theater’s owner, Rozene Supple, has made a series of contributions over the years that read like a checklist of people who don’t like LGBT people.

Michelle Bachman? Yep. Proposition 8? Yes indeed. Allen West? Oh yes.

(We have to admit that there’s a part of us that misses Allen West, the super-crackpotty politician from, naturally, Florida, who lashed out at Lady Gaga for calling America “home of the gays.”)

And it gets worse: According to attorney Robert Tansey, who dug through Supple’s donation records, she was more than a little sneaky about how she donated to Prop 8. Initially, she listed the money as coming via her homeowner’s association. The record was only corrected after the association received a large volume of complaints, Tansey reports. (Conversely, we wonder how Bachman and West would react to her upcoming hosting of The Palm Springs Gay and Lesbian Film Festival?)

So, now that we have this information, what do we do about it? Well, there’s always the possibility of a boycott. Supple’s free to spend her money on nutty causes that hurt her own patrons–just as the people of Palm Springs are entitled to withhold theirs from her.

The optimal outcome in a situation like this would be an apology from the donor, a promise that it won’t happen again, and a big donation towards marriage equality. Might we suggest an amount at least equivalent to all the combined money she’s given to antigay causes? That’s what a Gold’s Gym franchisee in San Francisco did after it came out that the CEO of Gold’s supported a Karl Rove PAC: the franchisee cut all ties with Gold’s and donated a ton of money to local LGBT causes.

Will Supple follow suit? It certainly wouldn’t hurt to ask.

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  • niles

    People tend not to get too worked up about things in the desert, but they should at least move the gay film festival.

  • boring

    Oh snap, I used to go there!

    I preferred trotting over to Cinémas Palme d’Or instead. Do they still do midnight screenings of awesome things?

  • Cam

    “The optimal outcome in a situation like this would be an apology from the donor, a promise that it won’t happen again, and a big donation towards marriage equality.”

    Nahhhh, the optimal outcome would be that the theater goes out of business so that other bigots learn that donating to prevent others from having civil rights is bad business.

  • twizler

    I agree that the best outcome would be for the theater to go out of business. Making an apology does not mean that the owner changes his/her attitudes. That they are willing to make money from gays, yet actively work against us is reprehensible!

  • Fitz

    The optimal outcome would be for her to come around… I am more bitter than almost anyone I have seen post here, but even I have to admit– that’s the really “optimal outcome”.

  • david-sf

    While I find it a very slippery slope the blog piece was very one sided & I am by no means defending anyone that gives to crazy tea party nut jobs but I do want to share a letter I got from Cinema Diverse a local film festival held at Camelot. It is another side of the story but still I would not support them on principal alone.
    Hi guys –

    Thank you for contacting me. While the Supples are certainly Republicans and fiscally conservative, they are definitely not what was portrayed in that article.

    I am sure they have given money to the GOP, and to their PACS, but I am also sure they do not espouse the beliefs of either the Tea Party or anti-gay initiatives. If anything, I believe that they have been taken advantage of by telemarketers (they are both 90 and most of the donations were made to telemarketers). That’s no excuse, but it is reality.

    The Supples have also given significant amounts of money to DAP, HRC and other LGBT charities, including Equality California, and to Desert Hospital. Three years ago, they donated over $11,000 to the HRC. I was at the HRC event when they presented the check through their nonprofit, The Palm Springs Cultural Center. They also bought a $10,000 table for the Steve Chase gala for several years (up until such time as they felt they were too old to attend), and gave over a million dollars to Desert Regional for their Trauma Ward.

    I guess what I’m saying is that there are definitely two sides to this story. I know for a fact that Cinema Diverse has never paid them one penny. To the contrary, they helped Cinema Diverse get started, and have given the festival tens of thousands of dollars to help us keep afloat. Early on, our finances were totally upside down, and I can tell you we’d never have made it if Mrs. Supple had not personally given us the money to keep the festival going.

    I am hopeful that either the Supples and/or the paper will see fit to print another article. I sure intend to ask them to……
    SOOOO there it is

  • FStratford

    The wife should still explain why she surreptitiously donated money for prop 8.

    Not good enough.

    I will withhold my judgement until they say something. See if your explanation of their behavior is correct. And no, “we have gay friends” is not a good reason.

  • scotshot

    @david-sf: If I was getting a free ride like that I’d write a hundred letters.

  • Donley Matthew

    I was shocked too, till I realized she was 90…it won’t stop me from attending film fest and gay community organization’s events like Cinema Diverse • The Palm Springs Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, at the Theater. Only the gay community and our film festivals are hurt by a boycott because this is a low cost and the only available venue for these events…and from statements from reliable PSIFF sources, this theater is not a money maker for the Supples. It strikes me that this story places a false light (though true) upon these people, treating them like public figures…They are not. Just elderly private citizens, not politicians or celebrities seeking some public role in our community (except as the benefactors of the arts and cinema – so judge them for that)….. 10 years from now, the Supples really won’t be an issue…We won prop 8. We get the Theatre for our use and benefit…and our community is a better place to live because of those things. As for donating to gay causes as suggested in the article, the Supples have recently made donations to DAP and HRC per a statement from Cinema Diverse. So mission accomplished, just not noted in the story…

  • petensfo

    Hi Jeff 4 Justice,

    Gurrrrrl, you got some big balls on you! I watched your link. Thanks for pushing back. I also worked against Prop 8 in San Fran. They sent me to the East Bay on Election day so I could be heckled at in the street. Even at the time, friends thought I was taking things too seriously. I’ve never understood their passivity. Everyone needs to raise their voice. It’s the only thing that has brought us to the point we’ve reached today.

  • robertkalin

    Truly, I’m upset and saddened at the Supples’ donations reported. However, the article was one-sided and presents itself as a witch-hunt. Contempt prior to investigation…..I encourage the author and “The Desert Sun” to also present the Supples’ contributions to LGBT charities. Before I judge the Camelot and the Supples, I need to hear both sides of the story….

  • Spike

    Palm Springs gays are notorious republicans who backed Prop 8. A bunch of wealthy white old guys who made their money playing it str8t. They are embarrassed by the idea of gay marriage and have never participated in any of the struggles that led to the civil rights that gays have today.

  • dougmc92

    It’s too late to give bigots a second chance/more time to grow! It’s 2013- they know what doing things like this may cost them and they do it anyway- hoping they’re not caught. Donating to anti gay groups, using anti gay slurs- YOU ARE DEAD TO ME!

  • akingsfan

    Actions, however subsequently spun, have consequences. I do not “fault” the owner for donating to Prop H8. That is, after all, her right. (I do believe that it was shady to take gay money and donate said money to anti-gay causes, though. But I digress…) Bottom line, just as it is her choice to donate to anti-gay causes/candidates, it is also our choice (and our responsibility) to hold her, and others, accountable for their actions.

  • Stache1

    @david-sf: Yeah, i read her response. Her excuse was that she’s a die hard Republican and she just donates to candidates she feels represents smaller government. Ok fine. However, she donated money to a hateful cause ie prop 8. Ironic for someone that’s so about less government interference btw. I guess less government is good when it only affects her.

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