L.A. Times begins to show remorse?
The pressure continues out there. Just this week Richard Raddon, the director of the Los Angeles Film Festival was forced to resign after gay advocates persecuted him with threats and intimidation. He offered to step down as film director earlier but the film board voted unanimously in his support so he withdrew his resignation and decided to stick it out with the company’s full support.
The pressure moved from work to home however, as Raddon’s family was targeted, and that proved to be too much. “No on 8” supporters got a hold of his personal phone number and email and continued their threats and harassment. When Raddon again sent his resignation to the film board, this time they accepted.
Chad Griffin, a political advisor to Hollywood executives epitomizes the theme of the mob when he justifies their actions saying:
“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.”
As awful as scenes like this are, there is one shining ray of optimism. This is the first time I’ve seen the Times react with something of a conscience as they report on the hurt caused by these mobs. While less than outraged, they’re actually looking into the human aspect of more than just those on the side of the cause they publicly supported.
The times actually reported on the further harassment of Mr. Raddon and his family with less than glowing terms, seeming to draw a line in the sand of what is unacceptable, even for the Times:
From the L.A. Times–Raddon’s support for Proposition 8 has sparked debate within both the gay community and Hollywood, as many publicly worry about punishing people for free speech, even speech they deemed hateful, and his departure has already provoked ambivalence.
“I’m personally saddened by the outcome,” said Film Independent board member Bill Condon, the writer-director of “Dreamgirls.” “Someone has lost his job and possibly his livelihood because of privately held religious beliefs. I think the organization was ready to tough this out, but Rich ultimately decided it wasn’t worth the cost. I’m not sure he was right.”
It’s about time for the media to start sprouting a conscience over these incidents of abuse, mobocracy, and intimidation. Where is the outrage on the pages of the Times for freedom of speech?
As long as our leaders both in state government and leaders of public opinion in the media refuse to condemn these strong arm actions, groups who use information to target neighbors will be emboldened and the intimidation of free citizens will continue.
The effort by the Times to curb mob action and bring balance into the story is welcome, but for many like Richard Raddon and his family, it’s too little, too late.