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by Indiewire
November 25, 2008 9:50 AM
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Los Angeles Film Festival Director Rich Raddon Resigns

Outside the Mann Festival theater in Westwood, CA. at the 2006 Los Angeles Film Festival. Photo by indieWIRE

After weeks of mounting pressure, Rich Raddon, Festival Director of Film Independent's Los Angeles Film Festival, has resigned from the post he has held since 2000.

While not directly addressing concerns that were raised when it was revealed that Raddon, a Mormon member of the film community, had donated $1500 to the campaign in support of California Proposition 8, he did release a statement apologizing for the "negative attention that my actions have drawn to Film Independent and for the hurt and pain that is being experienced in the GLBT community." His full statement is below.

The Board of Film Independent has accepted his resignation and also released a statement: "With great reluctance, Film Independent has accepted Richard Raddon's resignation as Director of the Los Angeles Film Festival. Rich's service to the independent film community and to Film Independent has been nothing less than extraordinary. He has always shown complete commitment to our core principles of equality and diversity during his long tenure. It was through his leadership that the Los Angeles Film Festival has grown into a formidable and exciting showcase for talented artists and diverse voices. We are sorry to see him go."

The LA Film Festival is held annually in June. The next edition of the festival will take place June 18-28, 2009.

Los Angeles Film Festival director Rich Raddon with Film independent executive director Dawn Hudson at the 2007 Los Angeles Film Festival. Photo by Brian Brooks/indieWIRE

Text of Rich Raddon's full statement:

"I feel honored to have worked with such a wonderful group of people at the Los Angeles Film Festival over the last nine years. I am proud of our accomplishments. And I am proud to have worked at Film Independent, an organization whose principles and values of diversity and artistic integrity I cherish. 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. But I am profoundly sorry for the negative attention that my actions have drawn to Film Independent and for the hurt and pain that is being experienced in the GLBT community."

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18 Comments

  • dskolnick | November 29, 2008 2:08 AMReply

    There is an odd situation here where pepople are suggesting that boycotts are McCarthyite actions. That is wrong. These are classic ways to protest. I'm sure Mr. Raddon is a good guy, and probably doesn't deserve to lose his job, but what about the thousands of gay men and women who have lost their human rights in a small part because Mr. Raddon donated to the "Yes on Prop 8" campaign." It was a small donation, but those little donations added up to million of dollars, and those millions made Prop 8 victorious. He has to take responsibility for his actions, and if he is proud of his donation, he should be defending it instead of apologizing.

  • bruhrabbit | November 27, 2008 9:09 AMReply

    Tell yourself whatever you need to tell yourself. If the industry continues to support discrimination, he will only be the first.

  • shawna | November 27, 2008 8:00 AMReply

    I am completely outraged by the mob mentality of those opposed to Rich Raddon's ability to run a film festival due to his religious beliefs. This Prop 8 decision is out of control and people are losing their sanity. We have now officially entered the Gay McCarthy Era. Rich is known in the independent film world as one of the biggest allies, gentlemen and nicest people you will EVER meet. You're making THIS guy your target?! Are you kidding me?!! You don't go after the good guys. I think the gay community is going to see a huge back lash from this. Rich stepped down not because of the idiotic mob, but because he's a gentlemen and cares more about the group - he built from nothing by the way which showcased Gay films that may never had seen the light of day - he served so gracefully for so many years. Where are the gay staff at FIND, or the gay filmmakers who's careers were launched because of him right now? Grow a spine. I voted NO on Prop 8 because I felt it was a civil right, NOT a religious right. I respect those who feel marriage is a religious right and I respect Rich for donating to something he believed in - that is HIS right. If I could re-voke my NO on Prop 8 vote I would because my belief and faith in the gay community was destroyed by this single, destructive action.

  • bruhrabbit | November 27, 2008 7:51 AMReply

    Julia



    The victims here are those gays who will not be allowed to marry because of your bigotry and those of others like you. Those lives are the millions.

  • julia g. | November 27, 2008 7:13 AMReply

    Shawna - Finally, an intelligent post from someone! Reverse discrimination only serves to hurt the group. It's unfathomable to me that there are those who cannot see past their own feet into the larger community! Every member of the filmmaking community needs to take a step back and again, ask themselves if every member of each arts organization is now going to be properly vetted and investigated to make sure that there are no diverse opinions, thoughts, ideas, or actions. Group think is one of the most dangerous, damaging, and destructive things to do - particularly in a community where DIFFERENT points of view are to be championed! Those on this board and others who are threatening to boycott, point fingers, and otherwise aim hateful and untrue accusations at people whom they do not know and organizations to which they do not belong are the problem. I strongly believe that THIS is what needs to be addressed at this point.

  • isold | November 26, 2008 9:26 AMReply

    "I have always held the belief that all people, no matter race, religion, or sexual orientation are entitled to equal rights," he says, as he writes his $1500 dollar check to support discrimination. Lovely.

  • isold | November 26, 2008 9:26 AMReply

    "I have always held the belief that all people, no matter race, religion, or sexual orientation are entitled to equal rights," he says, as he writes his $1500 dollar check to support discrimination. Lovely.

  • bruhrabbit | November 26, 2008 8:12 AMReply

    Two additional links:



    First to how the money that Mr. Raddon contributed adds to the ability of the majority to harm the civil rights of all minorities:



    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/25/opinion/25tue4.html?_r=1&ref=opinion



    Here

  • jazz4111 | November 26, 2008 7:58 AMReply

    Darfur...Myanmar...Somalia... $20M to stop gay marriage - why?

    from NYT 11/26/08:

    Inquiry Set on Mormon Aid for California Marriage Vote

    By JESSE McKINLEY

    SAN FRANCISCO � California officials will investigate accusations that the Mormon Church neglected to report a battery of nonmonetary contributions � including phone banks, a Web site and commercials � on behalf of a ballot measure to ban same-sex marriage.

    Roman Porter, the executive director of the Fair Political Practices Commission, which oversees California campaign finance laws, signed off on the investigation after reviewing a sworn complaint filed on Nov. 13. The complaint, filed by Fred Karger, founder of the group Californians Against Hate, asserted that the church�s reported contributions � about $5,000, according to state election filings � vastly underestimated its actual efforts in passing Proposition 8, which amended the state�s Constitution to recognize only male-female marriage.

    Broadly speaking, California state law requires disclosure of any money spent or services provided to influence the outcome of an election.

    Mr. Porter said the announcement of the investigation was not �a determination on the validity of the claims or the culpability of the individuals,� but that the claims had been reviewed by a lawyer for the commission and its chief of enforcement and deemed worth pursuing.

    Kim Farah, a spokeswoman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, issued a statement Tuesday saying it had received the complaint and would cooperate with the investigation. Frank Schubert, campaign manager for the leading group behind Proposition 8, said the accusations were baseless and made by a �rogue group.�

    Responding to a plea from Mormon Church leaders to �become involved in this important cause,� members contributed millions of dollars and volunteered for countless hours on behalf of Proposition 8. The ballot measure passed with 52 percent of the vote, leading to protests and boycotts of supporters of the proposition, including some Mormon temples and businesses.

    Mr. Karger�s complaint paints a sweeping picture of the involvement by the church leadership, and raises questions about who paid for out-of-state phone banks and grass-roots rallies in California before the Nov. 4 vote.

    �Who paid for the buses, travel costs, meals and other expenses of all the Mormon participants?� the complaint reads. �No contributions were reported.�

    The complaint also touches on a five-state simulcast from church leaders to Mormon congregations, as well as a Web site, preservingmarriage.org, that featured a series of videos advocating passage of the ballot measure and is labeled �an official Web site� of the Mormon Church.

    Ms. Farah said the church had no comment on the particular accusations in the complaint.

    If found in violation of election laws, the church could face fines of up to $5,000 per violation, Mr. Porter said. Bigger fines could also be levied by a civil court.

    Mr. Karger said he respected the right of Mormons to vote in line with their religious beliefs, but added �if they�re going to play politics, then they need to play by the rules.�

    The California Supreme Court agreed last week to review the constitutionality of the measure, with a ruling expected next year.

    Again: WHY??

  • neofight | November 26, 2008 7:17 AMReply

    The point is simple: Prop 8 tries to redefine what "equal protection under the law" means: it adds this huge asterisk with the words "except gays". If Prop 8 is allowed to stand, then any majority strip any right from any group. Blacks. Jews. Mormons even. Given that Mormons were ones an "enemy" under Missouri law, surely they'd have a little sense to understand that equal protection is not a concept to be trifled with - like by the tyranny of the majority.



    But this is about Rich Raddon: I had great respect for the man - but unfortunately he publicly endorsed discrimination which surprised me. I'm sure he will bounce back, but for now he must face the consequences of his actions.

  • julia g. | November 26, 2008 6:54 AMReply

    Resorting to name-calling is usually one of the first signs that the level of conversation has taken a step down. I can only hope that most people are not like you, bruhrabbit, and are intelligent enough to look at this issue from many different angles. I actually enjoy the debate, appreciate the differing viewpoints, and am open to considering different opinions and ideas. That is not bigotry, my friend. That is the essence of not only a democracy, but the mark of a civilized society. I could point you to many different articles that agree with me, but frankly, I don't have the time nor the inclination to do that today. In the spirit of gratitude this week, though, I'm very grateful that we each have the freedom to speak out and share our opinions with one another.

  • dskolnick | November 26, 2008 6:21 AMReply

    The time is now. This discrimination must end. It is unfortunate that Mr. Raddon has lost his job, but actions have consequences, and he is now having to take responsibility for supporting bigotry and hatred.

  • bruhrabbit | November 26, 2008 5:02 AMReply

    Two additional links:



    First to how the money that Mr. Raddon contributed adds to the ability of the majority to harm the civil rights of all minorities:



    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/25/opinion/25tue4.html?_r=1&ref=opinion



    Here

  • julia g. | November 26, 2008 4:57 AMReply

    I agree with you - marriage is a fundamental right. However, Prop 8 was defining marriage between one man and one woman and did nothing to distinguish a difference between gay relationships and let's say, polygamous, incestuous, or bigamous relationships. Would they also have protection under the law? As for your statement that I "speak for bigotry," that is, sir, most untrue. I may disagree with how this has been played out in the arts community, but that does not define me as a bigot. My point was that bringing racial disparity into this argument doesn't work for many people in defining what this is about.

  • bruhrabbit | November 26, 2008 4:36 AMReply

    Oh- and to gild the lily on my point. Here's a special comment by Keith Olbermann:



    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/10/keith-olbermanns-prop-8-s_n_142862.html



    The critical element of the comment can be found where he discusses marriage, and how in the African American community straight blacks were denied the right to marry during slavery.





    Here is Loving v. Virginia which affirms marriage as a fundamental right Julia:



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving_v._Virginia



    You can keep writing until you are blue. But this is the reality of what has happened.

  • bruhrabbit | November 26, 2008 4:32 AMReply

    I am black Julia.



    So was Bayard Rustin who was a gay black man (whom MLK knew to be gay) who organized the march on Washington in which King gave the "I have a dream" speech.



    So was Corretta Scott King who supported marriage equality for gays. Here's a link to that Julia from 2004:



    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2004-03-24-king-marriage_x.htm





    Organizations like the NAACP Legal Defense Fund also represent the interest of African-Americans. Here's a link Julia to their petition requesting that the CA Supreme Court overturn Prop 8:





    http://equaljusticesociety.org/prop8/



    The list goes on Julia. The point is you do not speak for the civil rights movement.



    You speak for bigotry.

  • julia g. | November 26, 2008 3:51 AMReply

    While some may find it easy to equate racial disparity and discrimination with the issue over marriage, the comparison of that to the Prop 8 ballot is oversimplified and insulting to those who fought on the front lines of the civil rights movement. It is hugely disappointing to see this type of backlash happen to someone in our arts community who has been a champion of independent thinking. The irony is not lost on me that here is an example of one who vigorously supported and developed a forum for filmmakers and others to view and express ideas and opinions that were usually different from those in the mainstream of thinking, and yet because his opinion didn't match the group, he is forced to leave.

  • bruhrabbit | November 26, 2008 2:12 AMReply

    There is a cognitive dissonance between what Raddon and Film Independent are saying and what Raddon did that neither he or Film Independent are willing to accept. I do not question whether he abstractly believes in diversity and equality. But, changing the law means he does no literally believes it or does not understand what it means. I question how he could not see how Prop 8 was a contradiction? Why does FIND not understand this? Faith is no more an excuse here than when whites used it to justify Jim Crow. Both statements make me question whether they truly understand diversity in fact versus in image.