‘Ender’s Game': To deflate boycott, Lionsgate shuns Orson Scott Card

July 12, 2013 | 2:07 p.m.
endersgame1 Enders Game: To deflate boycott, Lionsgate shuns Orson Scott Card

Hailee Steinfeld, left, and Asa Butterfield in a scene from "Ender's Game." (Summit Entertainment)

endersgame Enders Game: To deflate boycott, Lionsgate shuns Orson Scott Card

Harrison Ford, center, and Asa Butterfield, right, in a scene from "Ender's Game." (Richard Foreman Jr. / Summit Entertainment)

Trying to impede a boycott of its “Ender’s Game” movie sparked by anti-gay-marriage remarks made by the book’s author, Lionsgate has issued a statement distancing itself from novelist Orson Scott Card. The studio also said it will host an “Ender’s Game” benefit for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community.

Set for release Nov. 1, the sci-fi story adapts Card’s 1985 novel, set in a near future in which an alien race known as the Formics have attacked Earth. The movie stars Asa Butterfield as Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, a bright boy recruited to help humanity face future threats, and is directed by Gavin Hood (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”).

Although the novel is revered by many, Card’s political views have stirred great controversy. The writer has a history of making comments opposed to same-sex marriage, and his recent remarks about the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Defense of Marriage Act prompted the gay rights organization Geeks Out to call for a boycott of “Ender’s Game.”

“However much you may have admired his books, keep your money out of Orson Scott Card’s pockets,” the group said.

Card repeatedly has spoken and written about his opposition to gay rights and gay marriage. He has been active in the National Organization for Marriage, which recently wrote to supporters, “If we do not fight back against these governmental attacks on our fundamental right to act in the public square in support of the truth of marriage as God created it, then none of our cherished liberties and rights are safe.”

Writing in 1990, Card said, “Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.”

In the Mormon Times in 2009, he wrote, “Married people attempting to raise children with the hope that they, in turn, will be reproductively successful, have every reason to oppose the normalization of homosexual unions.”

MORE: Orson Scott Card and Superman: Stoking fan rage

In its statement released Friday, Lionsgate said, “As proud longtime supporters of the LGBT community, champions of films ranging from ‘Gods and Monsters’ to ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ and a company that is proud to have recognized same-sex unions and domestic partnerships within its employee benefits policies for many years, we obviously do not agree with the personal views of Orson Scott Card and those of the National Organization for Marriage.”

At the same time, the studio asked that moviegoers not conflate the politics of Card, who is a producer of “Ender’s Game,” with the movie itself.

“The simple fact is that neither the underlying book nor the film itself reflect these views in any way, shape or form.  On the contrary, the film not only transports viewers to an entertaining and action-filled world, but it does so with positive and inspiring characters who ultimately deliver an ennobling and life-affirming message. Lionsgate will continue its longstanding commitment to the LGBT community by exploring new ways we can support LGBT causes and, as part of this ongoing process, will host a benefit premiere for ‘Ender’s Game.'”

In an earlier statement to Entertainment Weekly, Card said, “Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute…. ‘Ender’s Game’ is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984.”

– John Horn

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