Letters – December 12, 2008

Posted on 11 Dec 2008 at 7:01pm

Boycott Cinemark, but not at expense of ‘Milk’
RE: Cinemark CEO’s Prop 8 donation spurs boycott (Dallas Voice, Nov. 28)
Cinemark CEO Alan Stock donated money to stop same-sex marriages in California. Joe Blair III, an openly gay person who has worked and consulted with Cinemark, defends the company’s treatment of LGBT employees. They have at least one openly gay executive. Cinemark offers domestic partner benefits — but only where required to offer them by law.

The problem isn’t that CEO Stock donated money to harm our community. The problem is that Cinemark doesn’t have explicit EEO and other personnel policies that bar harassment, or discrimination against LGBT people in hiring, firing and promotions, nor do they offer equal benefits.

Boycotts and demonstrations have their place, and Cinemark is most certainly a deserving target.

Unfortunately, protests and boycotts may prevent people from seeing the film "Milk," and seeing that film could improve understanding and benefit our community.

Does this benefit outweigh the exploitation? Are we discouraging Cinemark from showing other LGBT-postive films?

More importantly, are we missing an opportunity to educate Cinemark executives and shareholders to implement explicitly LGBT- friendly policies?

Don’t fall for Cinemark’s argument that they are standing up for us by exhibiting "Milk" in the face of anti-gay bigots’ demands the film not be shown. Cinemark should be held accountable. Boycotts and demonstrations will likely be required.
But I’d like to see a more lasting tribute to Harvey Milk than simply depriving Cinemark of ticket sales.

Geoff Staples
Dallas

Boycott of Cinemark is wrong fight to pick
Members of our GLBT rights community have come out against the showing of "Milk" at our local commercial theater.

Cinemark is ready to demonstrate its commitment to inclusion by screening this superb dramatic history of an American hero, Harvey Milk, played powerfully by another American hero, Sean Penn. But community activists say that it can’t happen here.

Alan Stock, CEO and major owner of Cinemark, with 414 theaters in the U.S. and Latin America, funded a fraction of a second of a TV spot against equality with his personal contribution of $9,999 in support of California’s Proposition 8.

Of course, those boycotting "Milk" at the local theater will see the film somewhere else. And we’ll support one or two ghettoized progressive screenings.

But what of our community members who would see "Milk" only because it is among the best films showing at the local theater?

The Human Rights Campaign and other allies work hard to reach exactly those folks — the general open-minded public — with a vision of equality and inspiration of our culture’s continuing progress. This is worth so much more to us than $10 of revenue to a corporation which has — oh my stars! — an ultra-conservative CEO.

Alan Stock’s $9,999 played a minor role in the passage of an anti-family initiative. Don’t also hand his corporation a reason to keep "Milk" — a powerful two-hour lesson in courageous, historic American efforts toward progress — away from hundreds of thousands of potential viewers.

The passage of Proposition 8 sets the stage for a major transformational shift towards equality.  American society is ready.

Please encourage all theaters to give "Milk" the broadest possible exposure, and ensure the success of this, and similar, liberation messages.

Symbols are important. Pick the right ones. Support progressive media — wherever it shows up.

Phil Weinstein
Boulder, Colo.

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