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Roland Emmerich and Jon Robin Baitz Respond To The ‘Stonewall’ Boycott

Roland Emmerich and Jon Robin Baitz Respond To The 'Stonewall' Boycott

Earlier this week, a call to boycott Roland Emmerich’s “Stonewall” gained considerable ground over social media. The call comes at the suggestion that the film whitewashes of queer history — taking a story that in large part belongs to black and brown transwomyn and making it about a pretty cisgender white boy. However, we were hesitant to support it since it also came without the petitioners having actually seen the film. 

The petition’s mission statement:

To all considering watching the newest whitewashed version of queer history, It is time that black and brown transwomyn and drag queens are recognized for their efforts in the riots throughout the nation. From the preview alone, we know that will not be happening . Majority of characters casted are white actors, cis men play the role of transwomyn, and folks who began the riots do not seem to be credited with such revolutionary acts. 

WE ARE CALLING A BOYCOTT OF STONEWALL. Do not throw money at the capitalistic industry that fails to recognize true s/heros. Do not support a film that erases our history. Do not watch Stonewall.

Tell your own history! Use social media to recall what you know to be true of Stonewall. Film your own short films. Make videos, write poems, sing songs. CONTINUE TO TEACH TRUE HISTORY.

Why is this important?


History classes throughout our nation have built a reputation of instructing young generations that white, straight, cis folks are the saviors and founders of this land. Wrong. We were taught that light-skinned people are the goal; the goal to assimilate to. Wrong. We were also rarely taught about queer history, but when we were, it probably revolved around white cis gay men. Wrong.

This film is no different that the history classes that are serving a disservice to every potential viewer. From the previews alone, queer folks have gathered that the centralized character is a white cis gay man. (WHY?) From the previews alone, queer folks have gathered that not many people of color are even in the film. (WHY?) To make this short, we have also gathered that white folks are being credited in throwing the brick, starting the riots, starting the “gay liberation front” and also capturing the heart of a light-skinned transwomyn. (Of course we all fall in love with the white saviors. WRONG.)

Roland Emmerich and “Stonewall” screenwriter Jon Robin Baitz have responded to the boycott via Facebook.

“I understand that following the release of our trailer there have been initial concerns about how this character’s involvement is portrayed,” Emmerich said, “but when this film — which is truly a labor of love for me — finally comes to theaters, audiences will see that it deeply honors the real-life activists who were there — including Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Ray Castro — and all the brave people who sparked the civil rights movement which continues to this day. We are all the same in our struggle for acceptance.”

You can read both statements in full below, and let us know what you think of the situation in the comments.

This Article is related to: Features



THis is a complicated situation. I don’t think the film should be boycotted but I do understand the outrage considering how often drag queens, trans and other community members that didn’t fit a certain image were asked to stay in the background for the good of the cause. Not to mention back in those days the gay bars use to demand 3 forms of ID before they would let you in. That was done to help keep minorities out. I personally do not object to using a fictitious charcter to tell the history of that moment. Such things are nothing new. However as others have brought up, why make that character a white boy from the midwest and why cast an actor who is a young skinny blond? They could have at least gone for a different ethnicity, race or gender. There are 2 things the studio and the filmmakers can do that would help alleviate the people’s fears and anger. 1) Obviously cut a new trailor to show that the movie is not whitewashing such a key event in our history. 2) Tell us if the person playing Marsha P Johson is getting listed in the opening credits or not. Typically actors in lead and major supporting roles will be listed in the opening credits. If they are small roles they will be regulated to the end credits.


If it "honors" Sylvia Rivera then there’d be an actor listed in the credits, meaning at some point in the film she speaks. I’ve not seen any evidence of her presence.

Daniella Isaacs

I was as disappointed by the trailer as anyone else, but something sticks out to me in the screenwriter’s FB post. He talked about how the marketing department (the people who made the traier) is guided by fear. That’s true enough. Just because the trailer may be "whitewashed" that doesn’t mean the whole film will be. It certainly looks like the film will be told from "Danny’s" point of view, but in the final analysis, once we’ve seem the film, it may actually offer a more balanced representation that it now appears. Think about all those European art films that have been marketed to completely avoid the fact that they’re in, say, French with English subtitles, or dark, bitter dramas that have been marketed via trailers so as to seem they’re going to be hot, fast paced sex melodramas. Be suspicious, but keep an open mind.

Paul Brighton

I’m a filmmaker and we should be chastising the directors and producers of the gay film genre as a whole. What gay films by gay directors and writers have paved the way for this film? The answer is none. That’s because many of them are vapid, stereotypical nonsense. If people aren’t smart enough to realize this is a drama based on a true story, and that filmmakers have the right to express their vision, then they are infinity more ignorant than those who won’t go to historical sources for their gay history. It’s Hollywood. When was Hollywood charged with teaching people anything? This is not a documentary. Films like this serve as an introduction. If people walk out with the slightest bit of empathy for our struggles, then we’ve done way more good than "Another Gay Movie." Give these guys a break and stop throwing bricks before you see the movie!

Liberal who can't stand PC imbeciles.

Y’all are a bunch of frickin’ idiots for boycotting this picture, considering many of you haven’t seen it. It’s like religious fundies boycotting movies because their preachers told them to.

If you don’t like a movie about the gay rights movement, make your own movie.


I think the fact that there’s a open discussion and movements around this ‘controversy’ is healthy and brings awareness to this moment and many future ones in relation to all LBGT struggles. As for the movie, I agree with the filmmakers that it remains to be seen to be criticized. Marketeers are know to not be the most trustworthy people in entertainment, and trailers are a reflection of that. Having said that, Emmerich is not an art house director, and his sensibilities lie with the broad and the spectacle, and the broad and spectacle is guides to white straight man, and sometimes white straight women. I say that any minority film that uses an angle (this case a white kid) to tell minority stories to a broader audience (if in fact it is what it does), deserve a chance to be seen and judged, not pre-judged. So I will watch the movie.


@ Rick: Yes, but that is a contrivance. If you have the historical evidence of people like Riveria, Johnson and Castro, why is there a need to create a new character, specifically a white gay male character? I’m not gay and even I know about the transfolk who were at the forefront of Stonewall and the Gay Liberation Movement. It just seems as if the director and writer are insinuating, once again, that there is no history unless is led by a white male even if he is gay.


@Eleanor, isn’t that an often enough narrative device? To create a fictional, possibly amalgamated character, to co-exist with the non-fictional figures? That doesn’t really sound like that bad of an idea.


I feel like someone should have stepped back and asked themselves if telling this story through the use of this fictional character amongst real people who existed (the other street kids characters are based on people who lived in real life) was the best way for them to be in the world of the Stonewall Riots. "Danny" isn’t needed.

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