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Sony Chairman Amy Pascal Addresses Hollywood’s Depiction of Gay Characters: “We Can Do Better. We Have To.”

Sony Chairman Amy Pascal Addresses Hollywood's Depiction of Gay Characters: "We Can Do Better. We Have To."

As the Supreme Court hears merits and demerits today of the Proposition 8 gay marriage ban, a full transcript of Sony chairman Amy Pascal’s remarks at the March 21 fundraiser gala for the LA Gay and Lesbian Center has been released to the Huffington Post. In her speech, Pascal specifically addresses Hollywood’s depiction of gay characters, and the progress that still needs to be made: “I’m talking about kids who are gay and I’m talking about
kids who aren’t gay. One group needs affirmation and the other group needs
education. And, if I’m being honest, neither of those issues are high on any
movie studio or TV network’s agenda.” Highlights below.

On the difference “between being gay and other minorities”:

The other day, a good friend of mine told me the difference
between being gay and other minorities is that you’re alone in your own family.
If you’re a black kid and someone calls you the N word at school, your family
is there to comfort you. They know how you feel. They have probably had the
same experience. Not true when you’re gay. You are truly alone. So I’ve been
wondering how helpful we’ve been.

On a central plot point found in many films with gay characters:

Brokeback Mountain, Milk, Boys Don’t Cry, Philadelphia, The
Hours, Gods and Monsters, The Talented Mr. Ripley, A Single Man, My Own Private
Idaho, Cloud Atlas — in all these movies, the main character is murdered or
martyred or commits suicide or just dies unhappily. And there are far more
pernicious and dangerous images that confront gay kids and their parents: the
lesbian murderer, the psychotic transvestite, the queen who is humiliated and
sometimes tossed off a ship or a ledge. It’s a big joke. It still happens.

On “ParaNorman,” and a character’s gayness as incidental to a film’s plot:

And real credit has to be given to the filmmakers of
ParaNorman, Chris Butler and Sam Fell, who had the first gay character in an
animated movie, and he was the football hunk and it was totally incidental to
the plot.

Now it’s time for all of us to take that step. Not every gay
character needs to be defined by his or her sexuality. Can’t being gay just be
one stitch in the fabric of someone’s life?

On Hollywood’s insensitivity:

Hollywood sometimes beats its breast a little too much. We
should take pride in what we have accomplished. A lot!

On the other hand, go to Google and look up Hollywood’s
depiction of gay characters. We still have a long, long way to go. We all make
mistakes — I make them all the time — but the mistakes aren’t based on malice
or bigotry, believe me. We can be blamed for thoughtlessness, or the rush of
starting a movie, but basically, it’s really just insensitivity.

Hollywood is rising up to support gay marriage. To that end, some public figures are changing their Facebook profile pics in honor of marriage equality to a
red version of the Human Rights Campaign’s logo.  A few are listed

George Takei

Kate Walsh

Lance Bass

Nadia G

Padma Lakshmi

Pete Cashmore

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