The Geeks Strike Back

Jim Burroway

July 10th, 2013

Sci-fi writer, anti-gay extremist and NOM board member Orson Scott Card grumbled that people were remembering some of his anti-gay extremism — for instance, that he once called for the violent overthrow of the government if California’s Prop 8 was to fail at the box — and complained that it threatened a potentially lucrative opening for Ender’s Game, a movie based on his book for the same name. Amid growing calls for a boycott, Card decided to peg the movie’s box office success as a measure of pro-gay tolerance. Geeks OUT, a group of LGBT comic and sci-fi enthusiasts who are calling for the boycott, has responded to Card’s challenge:

The Bill of Rights protects your freedom of speech but it does not protect your right to a blockbuster opening weekend.

NOM Board Member and Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card’s tone-deaf plea for “tolerance” from pro-gay marriage forces, first given to Entertainment Weekly, struck such a sour note with so many because it seems to miss the point entirely.

This is not and has never been about a much beloved sci-fi novel. Leaving aside the fact that Card thinks gay civil rights didn’t exist in the mid-80s, which is pretty insulting to the post-Stonewall generation frontline against a little something called AIDS—this is about us, here and now. This is about our community refusing to financially support an extreme anti-gay activist. …

…Orson Scott Card, we can tolerate your anti-gay activism, your right-wing extremism, your campaign of fear-mongering and insults, but we’re not going to pay you for it. You’ve got the right to express your opinions and beliefs any way you choose—but you don’t have a right to our money.

How many homophobic billboards and absurd “Gathering Storm” ads would a new fortune built off of Ender’s Game lunchboxes buy for NOM?

There are a couple of things I find fascinating. First, Card wrote, “With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot.” Moot? I wonder if you’ve bothered to tell NOM that? Also, I think it’s safe to say that Card’s response has done wonders in elevating Geeks OUT’s public profile. I before this all hit, I wonder how many people had ever heard of Geeks OUT before.

Geeks OUT ends their statement asking Lionsgate, the actors and production crew, “How do you cut this guy a check?”

Bose in St. Peter MN

July 11th, 2013

It still doesn’t feel real to me some days, but Exodus International stands as the example of the opportunity available to Card:

“I was wrong. I’ve caused direct harm with my words and actions over a long period of time. I have severed my ties with NOM. I will no longer give money or energy to causes which deny civil equality or dignity to LGBT people…”

Not that I’m holding my breath waiting, or that Card should expect any single statement to reverse things.

Sir Andrew

July 11th, 2013

The sad thing is: I think I would’ve enjoyed this movie. I like Asa Butterfield and think he would be ideal in the lead role. And I liked the book, which I read long before Card had let us in on his membership in the Jerks Union. I would like to know whether he is getting any money off of the movie other than the fee the studio paid him for the copyright. If not, then seeing the movie would not put a single additional penny in his pocket. If he has a back end deal, on the other hand, then I’ll be staying away. I wonder if the Geeks bothered to check out the contract before calling for a boycott?


July 11th, 2013

Movies have been known to be shelved by its producers until the timing is right for release, if ever.

In this case the name of the movie is quite ironic, as the game of ending it before it starts seems to be the big hit.

Though I have never heard of a movie being shelved by public vote, it surely has mine.


July 11th, 2013

If Card really wants to rehabilitate his reputation, he can start by resigning his position on NOM’s board.

Timothy Kincaid

July 11th, 2013

Sir Andrew,

I would have to hunt for it (and with the news noise, google would be tough) but I believe I read that Card co-produced the movie. So, yes, movie tickets are money in his pocket.


July 11th, 2013

Sir A, unlike the theatre, movie writers work for a fee not for royalties. He will have been paid for the rights unless they had already been sold. He is credited, along with the director, for the screenplay. So he will have been paid for that. He is also credited as a producer, which is a way to allow someone a portion of gross receipts without making that official. The gross figures for a movie are notoriously malleable. So my guess would be that no, if you buy a ticket you won’t be putting money in his pocket but who knows? I would imagine he would stand to make much more from the book/movie tie-in.

I think the Geeks don’t understand how movies are made and who gets paid when. But I would imagine this will make it hard for them to put Card out in front as spokesman for the movie. They’ll most likely try to hide him.

Jim Burroway

July 11th, 2013

Card is listed as a producer:

Jim Burroway

July 11th, 2013

Also, it’s the net receipts which are notoriously malleable. That’s why smart agents always insist on gross.


July 11th, 2013

“….is pretty insulting to the post-Stonewall generation….” That would be ME! If one looks at our history, he can see that boycotting products, from orange juice to certain brands of cigarettes, WILL affect change. I fully support and encourage this boycott by our new generation of which I am so very PROUD.


July 11th, 2013

Like commenter Ryan said on another thread, we can’t let this come to be:
the big mean gays are ruining his life just because he supports traditional marriage.

We have to constantly remind the public of Orson’s rants which are clearly documented. Then point out nothing he has said has recanted any of his previous statements.

Card is copying the LDS Church. He is asking ‘tolerance’ in the same manner the LDS Church was when all the hubbub about Prop 8 and some rallies/protests were held around certain LDS Temples.

But I doubt Orson will ever change his stance.


July 11th, 2013

Never mind if seeing/buying this movie now would be money in his pocket. If receipts are sufficient to encourage the studio to make sequels (isn’t this a whole series of books?), that will put more money in his pocket.

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