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L.A. Film Festival head resigns over Prop. 8 donation

Former L.A. Film Festival Director Richard Raddon Richard Raddon, the director of the Los Angeles Film Festival who has been at the center of controversy ever since it was revealed almost two weeks ago that he had contributed $1,500 to the campaign to ban gay marriage in California, resigned from his post over the weekend.

The nonprofit arts organization Film Independent sponsors both the Los Angeles Film Festival, held in May, and the popular Independent Spirit awards. Raddon is a member of the Mormon Church, which actively called on its congregants to work for the passage of Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman. It has been estimated that Mormons gave more than $20 million in support of the recently passed ballot measure.

After Raddon's contribution was made public online, Film Independent was swamped with criticism from "No on 8" supporters both inside and outside the organization. Within days, Raddon offered to step down as festival director, but the board, which includes Don Cheadle, Forest Whitaker, Lionsgate President Tom Ortenberg and Fox Searchlight President Peter Rice, gave him a unanimous vote of confidence.

Read the rest of the story here.

--Rachel Abramowitz

Photo: Raddon speaks at a 2007 screening of "Talk to Her".  Credit: L.A. Film Festival.

Comments () | Archives (93)

I am not sure whether or not his resignation was warranted, but I don't buy his apology. If he truly belives that gays deserve equal treatment, he wouldn't have donated to the campiagn that made gays unequal and stripped away rights. Crocodile tears, Richard.

I too find it disturbing that he says in his statement, "I have always held the belief that all people, no matter race, religion or sexual orientation, are entitled to equal rights. As many know, I consider myself a devout and faithful Mormon. I prefer to keep the details around my contribution through my church a private matter." Is he saying that Mormons are zombies and the moment the church says "jump", they jump? There are many Mormons who did not contribute to this hateful proposition. I'm sorry, when you actively support an amendment that strips your fellow citizens, who you say deserve equal rights, of their civil rights it is not a private matter. Bigotry cannot hide behind religion any longer. I am sad that an evidently capable man had to resign over this, but I am even more sorry that he did not follow his heart and believed in civil rights for all.


If homosexuals have the right to same-sex marriages, why don't Mormons have the right to polygamous marriages?

i believe this man is entitled to his personal opinion and as long as his beliefs don't interfere with the performance of his duties, why should he step down? it isn't about equality, it is about usurping the constitution. if you are able to bed and board, care for in sickness and wellness, have financial and medical powers of attorney, and bury your loved one when he or she dies ~ what more do you need? all the above mentioned items cover your position legally.
no, the passing of prop 8 and the backlash against its passage is to remind ALL americans one more time that "they" will fight to the death to get their way, come hell or high water.
these are the same folks who told afro american actors in hollywood to either cut your beautiful locks or never work in hollywood again.
i wish i would support their asses in this after the stance they took against donnie's song, cloud 9 and the actors who lost work, income, houses and so much more because "they" were going to fight against their right to wear their hair in the style they wanted, come hell or high water!! i personally hope it never passes!

I'm a gay man, and I didn't spend one dime to the No on 8 campaign, because I don't believe that I should have to spend money to keep my fundamental rights. So, for this man to spend $1,500 to ban the fundamental right of gay people to marry shows that he is an obsessed lunatic. He didn't like what he saw in the mirror, which was his name on a large donor list.

I'm as puzzled as anyone else, as I was when the whole El Coyote thing exploded. These people donated to Yes on 8, but say they're sorry they hurt anyone. This guy in particular laments the "hurt and pain" the LGBT community is feeling. Did they not consider what Prop 8 would do when they donated? Is the sway of the Church that great that they seem astonished at what they contributed to?

I understand sympathy for them, but I don't share it. What they did had a significant impact on people VERY near to them, and we're supposed to feel sorry because those people found out and were angry? No, those people have a right to be angry and let it be known, as much as Richard had a right to donate for Prop 8 and roll the dice. No one is free from citizens' backlash when he makes a statement on controversial politics.

He was apologizing for the negative attention that others brought to his film festival because of his PRIVATE donation, not for donating. He donated, like many mormons because he thinks the word marriage is special and sacred. He doesn't oppose domestic partnerships or equal rights, he beleive marriage has a particular definition.

And the whole separte but equal thing is a misnomer in this situation. Heterosexual and homosexual are two different words, because they describe different things. That doesn't mean a homosexual has less rights than a heterosexual because they are called something else. Words are used describe are world, and hence different words apply when thinngs are noticeably different from each other. Even gay rights activists recognize the relationships are different by calling one heterosexual marriage and the other gay marriage. So what is big deal of calling one marriage and the other domestic partenships.

By the way I think the main thing that needs to change is how the federal government recognizes domestic partnerships. Give every domestic partnership every tax break granted to marriages. Either that or we should do things like in europe, where everyone gets a civil partnership, and marriage is a religious ceremony.

Prop 8 was all about whether to call it a civil union or a marriage. It did nothing to eliminate anyone's rights. Other than using the word "marriage" for the union, all couples in California have the exact same rights under civil unions or marriages. As for Richard Raddon, blacklisting is such an ugly, hateful thing. Are we next going to tell Jews and Catholics what jobs they may or may not have? Where will we stop?

Another day, another witch hunt.

This campaign of villification has reached ridiculous levels. There are many, many non-hateful, non-bigoted reasons for people to support Prop. 8. I really feel for Rich Raddon and his family (he has young kids -- Merry Christmas). Just because the GLBT militants say donating to Prop. 8 makes something hateful or bigoted doesn't make it so. If Prop. 8 is affirmed at court and SSM comes up on the ballot again (to overturn Prop. 8), you can be sure that the opponents of SSM will have ample fodder for all kinds of ads from the witch hunts, terrorist activities (white powder mailed to multiple Mormon churches), vandalism, and acts of violence committed by the supposedly "tolerant" and "progressive" GLBT community. This vicious backlash we are seeing is doing more damage to SSM's long-term prospects than all the millions donated to Prop. 8 combined.

... guess only the points of view in favor are posted. nice!

Freon - Is that a reason for them to go after same sex marriage? Like "We can't have the marriage we want so you can't have the one you want either!"? I wouldn't put it past them but think it is more likely they are testing the waters to see how much control they have over their victims....I mean..."members". What a cult.

Blacklisting people of any opinion is wrong

Scotty - Prop. 8 eliminated the right for same sex people to marry each other. Domestic Partnership DOES NOT offer all the same protections of Civil Marriage. That it did was just another of the many lies propogated by the proponents of Prop. 8.

Blue - Lets wait for the investigation into the "white powder" to be completed. You might be very surprised who actually sent the powder and which side will be able to use that in an ad campaign in the future should it be needed. Of course, with all the deceit coming to light about the LDS, proponents of removing the discrimination will have a tough time deciding WHICH lie to remind the general public about.

I know Rich Raddon's family personally, and they are very good, charitable people. The gay community is a disgrace for forcing him out. It is the homosexual community who hates, discriminates, and persecutes, and who wants other's rights trampled on. Not the other way around. They have choosen to persecute the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because they strive to be Christ-like, and therefore are more likely to turn the other cheek. Where weret he protests at all of the HUNDREDS of other churchs that supported the proposition? Has the gay community spoken up about burning the Book of Mormon at a mormon church? Of course not! They did it! Would they dare pull the same thing at a Muslim Mosque, where hey - forget being against gay-marriage - they say stone them to death! They wouldn't dare! But they will organize protests at LDS Temples. What about at balck churchs, which voted 70% in favor of the amendment and by all accounts made the difference in the vote? No way! Cowards! By every legitimate legal expert's opinion, being able to define themselves as "married" would give them no additional rights than what are already available by law. But gays want to FORCE - like Stalinistic DICTATORS - that everyone not only allow their view and preferences, but must be forced to accept it as their own. Hypocrites! Why are you so threatened by someone having a moral opinion that differs from your own? Because you hate freedom. You hate religion and anything that dares to acknowledge a moral compass, because it calls your lifestyle into question. You parrot the same anti-mormon rhetoric that has been used for decades, even though disproven by numerous non-LDS studies (like the "Zombie" statement, which a Harvard study proved to be false by showing that LDS members are far more independent and free-thinking than most even non-religious people). And so, you pick one of the most morally stringent churches on earth to unleash your true vileness. Pathetic. And least you attack me as being a "hater", know that I have several friends and immediate family members who live in various degrees of homosexual lifestyles. Some fight what they feel is an unhealthy and ultimately unrewarding attraction to members of the same sex. Others have fully embraced the gay lifestyle. ALL of them are still my friends, do not feel judged by me, know my position on the matter, and they KNOW I still love them. If you can't figure out how this could be, perhaps you should study more carefully the position of the church and its members you are persecuting.

Prop 8 had nothing to do with "preserving a definition". That is purely a nice way for religious nut jobs to think that they are some how superior to other human beings. We are all the same people...what is wrong with everyone?? SOUTH AFRICA has same sex marriage and they had apartheid until 1994. Are we that obsessed with our religions that we can not give other citizens the same respect that we would expect for ourselves regardless of our beliefs? Just because "it's the will of the majority" does not mean that it is the right thing to do. We are supposed to be a country that stands for equality for all citizens. I am ashamed that some of you have the audacity to call yourself American and then vote to write discrimination into the Constitution.

This is ridiculous. Nobody should have to step down or resign because of their religious convictions. This is probably why many religions were so adamantly against this. How long before the GLBT community starts forcing religions to accept gays or face violent protests, loss of employment, etc. all on the basis of "equal rights".

@ Christopher Kirkland

If Mormons didn't want excessive criticism of their actions, they should not have disproportionately supported Proposition 8. The fact of the matter is Mormons represent approximately 2% of the population in California, yet Mormons donated more than 50% of the total funds to support Proposition 8 which spread lies and misinformation about gay people.

You need to live in a realistic world where you realize that your actions may have negative consequences that you don't like. You can choose to believe whatever you want, but the second you put money and effort to try to take away my rights, you better be very sure that I will boycott and protest and call you out on your bigoted beliefs that negatively affect thousands of families in California alone!

This isn't about equal rights. Everyone knows that "equal rights" can be easily obtained by advancing civil unions. This is about acceptance. Coining same sex unions with the phrase "marriage" implies the blessing and acceptance of the state and society in general.

That isn't such a bad thing.

However, the problem with the vitriol, hatred and bigotry that the GLBT is spewing towards the religious is that it will never stop until churches are forced to alter their belief systems to accommodate everyone. By then, the GLBT will have defeated anything or anyone who can possibly speak or feel ill towards their orientation.

Privately held religious beliefs are one thing, but needlessly forcing your beliefs into law affecting others is somethng else entirely.

This looks like he was forced to resign to me. This is getting out of control. Gays lose Prop 8 and then intimidate and attack the majority of the California population and more specifically those that contributed to the majority vote.

Another case of illegal mob harassment that should be prosecuted: the Los Angeles Film Festival whimps out and gives into the fanatics who are hellbent on hunting down, punishing, and firing everyone who voted for Proposition 8, or who supported ProtectMarriage.com. Such hypocritical fanaticism and acquiescence will ultimately be a total waste and will backfire. All the analogies you can muster won't prove that our society should allow men or women to marry anyone other than someone of the opposite gender. The voters will do whatever they need to preserve our society. With Proposition 8, voters finally displayed a little common sense and backbone, and decided not to allow gay activists dictate everything. It's very disturbing to the average citizen to witness this disgusting triumph of gay activism, and instead of giving in, people should stand firm against the evil tide of gay extremists who want to ruin our society.

I'm waiting for the people who dontated for the "No" side to be forced to resign from their jobs after their contributions become public.

Oh, wait. That will never happen because the "bigots" really aren't bigoted after all.

Because someone believes differently he needs to step down? i would gladly contribute to yes prop 8. I'll fight against adoption agencies being forced to give babies to same sex couples until the day I die. This has nothing to do with equal rights. This is a moral issue. Right vs. wrong. newborn babies have rights too and we are speaking for them because someone has to. Standing by idle and give gays their way like a whining child. no way. The days are coming where all will need to choose sides. And indifference is choosing the low road of "whichever way society winds blow". We need strong men and women of character and values and morality to stand up against the precepts of men. Some times love is not giving a child everything they want. And before one thinks I do not like gays, one of my closest friends for 30 years is gay and I do not hold it against him as long as it does not harm others and even then I still feel love and empathy for him, he is like a brother. This issue harms others and yet they cry bigot and hatred to manipulate and get their way.

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