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The New Math: Hollywood + Prop 8 = ?

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Today's LA Times asks a pressing question: "Should there be boycotts, blacklists, firings or de facto shunning of those who supported Proposition 8?"

This question has surfaced in the wake of recent high-profile "outing" of Prop 8 supporters and the subsequent consumer and community backlash, like in the case of local eatery El Coyote. But the Times is making a rather pointed connection to the post-Prop 8 fallout, namely the relationship between "liberal Hollywood" and the controversial ballot measuring limiting the definition of marriage to that between a man and woman only and outlawing same-sex marriage.

They point to the numerous rumblings about pro-Prop 8 industry insiders, starting with "Scott Eckern, director of the nonprofit California Musical Theatre in Sacramento, who resigned after a flurry of complaints from prominent theater artists, including "Hairspray" composer Marc Shaiman, when word of his contribution to the Yes on 8 campaign surfaced," and adding others to the growing list like "Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that puts on both the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Spirit Awards; the Cinemark theater chain; and the Sundance Film Festival."

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So what is the connection between Hollywood and what is largely (and over-generally) referred to as gay activism?

The LA Times explains:

For many in Hollywood, the Proposition 8 backlash represents a troubling clash of free speech, religious beliefs and the right to fight intolerance. Many supporters of same-sex marriage view the state constitutional amendment as codified bigotry, a rollback of civil liberties for gays and lesbians.

Hollywood, long thought of as the oddball, bohemian, "anything goes," Bacchanalian world of heathens and left-wing wing nuts, also just happens to wield a lot of power and money in this town, and, to some extent, in the world. On the local level, there remains uncertainty about just how much the anti-Prop 8 movement will cost Hollywoodites; it has already cost someone like Eckern his job, and it may mean that there will be a lot fewer films shown at the Los Angeles Film Festival next year--filmmakers like Greg Araki won't let his films play at the fest, while others are taking a more cautious approach, like producing duo Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, who are poised to release Milk, a film about landmark gay politician Harvey Milk. Cohen also urges everyone to "proceed with caution" when it comes to reacting to Prop 8, chiefly when it comes to boycotts and finger-pointing.

For others the math is a matter of plain old dollars and cents, like Chad Griffin, a political advisor to Hollywood executives who told the Times:

"A dollar to the yes campaign is a dollar in support of bigotry, homophobia and discrimination. There are going to be consequences. Any individual who has held homophobic views and who has gone public by writing a check, you can expect to be publicly judged. Many can expect to pay a price for a long time to come"

No matter how you approach the problem, there is no easy formula to solve the unbalanced equations that Prop 8 presents: Right and wrong, left and right, politics and religion, freedom of speech and bigotry, money and power, church and state, or gay and straight.Photo by nopantsboy via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr