California Musical Theatre Director Scott Eckern Steps Down

Following revelations of artistic director Scott Eckern’s contribution to the campaign to pass Proposition 8 in California and the subsequent announcement from Hairspray composer Marc Shaiman that he would be boycotting any future productions at Sacramento’s California Musical Theatre, Eckern has announced he is stepping down. If you work in musical theater, it’s not good business to piss off your base.

EckernSaid Eckern: “I am leaving California Musical Theatre after prayerful consideration to protect the organization and to help the healing in the local theatre-going and creative community. I am disappointed that my personal convictions have cost me the opportunity to do what I love the most.”

Continued Eckern: “I understand that my choice of supporting Proposition 8 has been the cause of many hurt feelings, maybe even betrayal. It was not my intent. I honestly had no idea that this would be the reaction. I chose to act upon my belief that the traditional definition of marriage should be preserved. I support each individual to have rights and access and I understood that in California domestic partnerships come with the same rights that come with marriage. My sister is a lesbian and in a committed domestic partnership relationship. I am loving and supportive of her and her family, and she is loving and supportive of me and my family.”

Eckern had been with the company for 25 years.

Comments

  1. Darren says

    My heart bleeds purple kool-aid…

    I love how all the Mormons being caught being “discriminatory” are back pedaling on how they are for equal rights..

    Uhmm, words versus deeds.. I can’t recall the last time I was at a rally for Gay Rights that the Church of Latter Day Saints (sic) attended with as much fervor and ca$h as has been piled on the Yes on 8 campaign.

    Oh wait.. yes I can remember it..

    It was.. oh, half past NEVER.

  2. Jonathan says

    It is unfortunate this has cost him his job. I don’t see any other possible outcome from this, however.

    I really don’t think those in opposition to gay marriage quite get how over it we, as a community, are. After Stonewall there was still a pervasive culture of the closet. It’s taken 40 years, but finally we see a world where the shame of homosexuality simply will not cause members of the gay community to cower in fear.

    And that means when the others say we’re not entitled to what we want, we have a voice with which to reply.

  3. Sami says

    The only person stupider than this idiot is his piece-of-shit sister who didn’t disabuse him of the notion that if you vote against our rights, you’re a bigot. What dumb box of hair she is!

    I hope you never find work again, douchenozzle!

  4. peterparker says

    Folks, THIS is the problem: “…I understood that in California domestic partnerships come with the same rights that come with marriage.”

    There are many, many, many people who believe that through domestic partnerships/civil unions GLBT people can secure all the rights that heterosexual couples secure through marriage. We have to get the message out that this is not about wanting to walk down the aisle in a church, nor is it about some sort of ‘acceptance’ of our relationships from the community at large. This is about being protected under the same laws that protect heterosexuals.

  5. John M says

    That is going to be one awkward Thanksgiving dinner, I think his sister is going to have a very different opinion on what being supportive of her family is.

  6. says

    What a pussy. Couldn’t even stand up for what he believes in, for those oh-so-important family values. Even Larry Craig’s got more of a spine than this cretin. Good riddance to bigoted rubbish.

  7. roy1983 says

    Hate is hate. You still don’t understand it Mr. Eckern, your religious belief is not and must not be the governing factor in this country. I am so happy that you are reaping the fruit of your misdeeds. you are no hero you are a very hateful person and you cause us so much pain. i wish your family can experience what we are experiencing right now.

  8. hill_w says

    Now, of course, he could’ve simply made a donation to the Mormon Church, directing his funds toward the “Yes On 8″ campaign, which would have spared him being listed on the (fully legal, standard-operating-procedure) list published by the State. That way, he could have kept his hateful views toward the very people he makes a living off of to himself (and rotted in Hell or wherever Mormons go).

  9. Godfrey says

    This silly old closeted back stabbing “Judas” queen got exactly what was coming to him!

    Silly fool! You can no longer use the LGBT community as your whipping-board to hide from your wife!

    Goodbye…. and may the sweet door of a good job kick you in the ass on the way out!

  10. Godfrey says

    This silly old closeted back stabbing “Judas” queen got exactly what was coming to him!

    Silly fool! You can no longer use the LGBT community as your whipping-board to hide from your wife!

    Goodbye…. and may the sweet door of a good job kick you in the ass on the way out!

  11. Dan says

    As someone said – not happy, but not sad at all either. I’m in the theatre business and I wouldn’t have worked with the guy again either – so I don’t know what else could be done.

    I am SO done with being patient with people about this. I’ve spent most of my life being sensitive to not ‘pushing’ things and going out of my way for the comfort of those around me (family, friends, etc) because of my and their religious background. I’ve never been to a protest in my life, but I’m planning on going out on the 15th. I’m done. Over it. Had it up to here. I’m glad to see that a lot of others are feeling the same way. I won’t associate or do business with anyone who feels the need to express their moral opinion about who I am. At work. At school. On the street. I’m done being anything but loud about the fact that I’m just as much a citizen of this country as they are.

  12. Allan says

    As a major donor to CMT and friend to several of the staff members, I applaud Eckern’s decision to resign. Now this fine organization can move forward without a cloud hanging over it.

    Eckern had ample opportunity to discuss the potential ramifications of his donation with friends, colleagues and family before acting, but failed to do so.

    Meanwhile, the show goes on. Ironically, the current offering in Sacramento is the touring production of The Color Purple, which celebrates the struggle of a black lesbian in the segregated South.

  13. noteasilyoffended says

    Thing is, this a-hole doesn’t even seem to realize that he was discriminating against the very folks who provided material for, acted in and patronized his Company. So, he is a bigot AND an idiot. “Separated but equal” was smacked down long ago. IT wasn’t right then and it isn’t right now. And I am tired of being patient with bigots and the uninformed. I am 47 f’ing years old and have fought, YES FOUGHT, for any sort of regular life and equal life. I fought each day coming home from school as a group of bullies beat me up (DAILY). I fought for city hood for West Hollywood. I fought for HIV medications by climbing on the NIH. I fought for my lover’s treatments as he died of AIDS. I fought to help get a person’s HIV status included in the ADA. I fought to provide medical care to an almost totally African American community in Washington DC when all we had to work with was donations. I have fought and fought and FOUGHT. I AM GETTING TIRED OF THIS! And I’m tired of people like this lucky-loo, live with your nose in the air and your brain on pause. Now, just go, Mr. Eckern. Maybe you and your “family” can begin your life again in Utah. Good f’ing riddance.

    And to all you youngsters who are now enjoying the benefits of all us old folks’ work and sweat and tears and blood; it is YOUR TURN TO TAKE THE HELM. Read. Talk to elders. Learn about what it took to bring about this somewhat accepting time we now live in…and then demand MORE. Demand EQUALITY. That has always been the mantra and fight. Wake up, take the torch and make this happen.

  14. Gary says

    He is surprised? He obviously didn’t give any thought to it. He voted to make his sister a second class citizen and took away her right to stand as his equal. Good riddance.

  15. says

    I wonder if Jeff Whitty would allow him to walk around singing “It sucks to be me” now?

    I like romantic things
    Like musical theater and art.
    And as you know
    I have a hateful heart
    And now I don’t have
    A Job!
    Fuck!
    It sucks to be me!

  16. argyle says

    yet another Prop 8 supporter who claims they had no idea what they were doing when they wrote their nasty check. god, these people are proving twice how incredibly stupid they are.

  17. Tralfaz says

    I am so sick of jerks like this. “Oh I have a lesbian sister and blah, blah, blah”.

    Don’t hug me with one arm and stab me in the back with the other.

    I have a cousin that feels the same way and her ass went to my wedding! (not the legal one)

  18. Grego says

    what a piece of shit, i wonder if his wife would mind if he supported taking away her right to vote.. or maybe he’d like that too?

    Thanks and hugs to everyone who’s called this joker out. We need to keep the pressure on. Maybe the websites could start a web clock counting days of shame – how many days since civil rights were stripped from us?

  19. jim says

    “My sister is a lesbian and in a committed domestic partnership relationship. I am loving and supportive of her and her family…”

    WOW, just when I thought that the bigot coverline of “some of my best friends are gay…” would never be surpassed! This fucker has NO shame! I seriously hope he’s off sister’s Thanksgiving guest list this year.

  20. says

    Eckern said, “I am disappointed that my personal convictions have cost me the opportunity to do what I love the most.” I am disappointed that your personal convictions have cost me the opportunity to do what I love the most.

  21. Sargon Bighorn says

    I hope this is a lesson to all of you; Civil Unions ARE NOT ARE NOT ARE NOT the same as Marriage. Don’t settle for second class when you’re forced to pay for first class.

  22. says

    “‘I understand that my choice of supporting Proposition 8 has been the cause of many hurt feelings, maybe even betrayal. It was not my intent. I honestly had no idea that this would be the reaction.'”

    I’m guessing he has a better idea now. Funny how light bulbs suddenly go off in those arrogantly dim straight minds when they’re the ones facing the consequences of their bigoted actions.

  23. FunMe says

    I love how all donors to any proposition are in PUBLIC web sites.

    You can hide behind a church your gayness (like him) and BIGOTRY (like him), but when you give money to a cause that hurts HUMAN BEINGS, then you deserve all the consequences.

    Losing his job is NOTHING compared to what married gay/lesbian couples are going through right now.

  24. Sportin' Life says

    “…prayerful consideration…”

    Gawd, do these religious assholes ALWAYS have to advertise how religious they are? At every opportunity? In every statement that comes out of their mouths?

  25. Clay says

    A question begged by this and a couple of other cases is: why did people who were or at least appeared to be gay positive vote Yes? The simple answer is that they’re two-faced bigoted hypocrite assholes. The simple answer may be correct. But we should ask: what if this dunce was sincere in believing marriage was unnecessary? ie: What info didn’t get circulated by the No campaign? The NO campaign had phone scripts that carefully avoided words like gay, marriage and civil rights. Just maybe failing to directly address the issue was an error?

    In any case I still think this surge of boycotts is great. Starve the fuckers.

  26. David D. says

    Someone who engages in “prayerful consideration” knows exactly what he’s donating for and exactly what it means. His sister should prayerfully consider punching him in the nose.

  27. MCnNYC says

    I don’t feel sorry for him at all.
    As a matter of fact I resent his feeling the victim in this.
    He CHOSE to donate.
    He (most likely) made a CHOICE to vote to discriminate.
    He then CHOSE to step down.
    HE was not fired.
    He is a coward.
    He does not see that in THIS contry there is no place for HIS religious beliefs to be enshrined as civil doctrine.
    Sorry folks but we can’t be minstrals for his pleasure or profit.

  28. MCnNYC says

    OK so now the No On Prop 8 did not do any outreach to the MUSICAL THEATER COMMUNITY?

    DAMN us to Hell we droped the ball on the blacks and the theater geeks!

  29. John in CA says

    And since when are the Mormons for civil unions and domestic partnerships? Seems like they’re doing a political spin job because of the backlash.

    From what I understand, a Mormon caught having same-sex relations is immediately banished from the church community. In some cases, their own family members won’t even talk to them. So this little act of (post Prop. 8) crocodile tear “compassion” for same-sex couples – as long they don’t call it marriage – seems to have come completely out of nowhere. Mormon doctrine was never tolerant of ANY kind of homosexuality.

    The cultists are just making it up as they go along.

  30. says

    “Prayrful consideration” = “My shit doesn’t stink cause I talk to GOD!”

    Very happy to read your post, Dan.

    Th beating heart of this new generation of gay acitivism springs from the fact that THE CLOSET IS OVER!!!!

    For eons the closet has been the source of the phobes’ power. Marraige means, among many other things, NO MORE CLOSETS!

    Feel The Gay Power, people. This is what it’s like. This is what it means.

  31. ARCH says

    It strikes me that people such as this man are increasingly going to have to choose on gay rights issues. This is not the doing of the gay community itself but has been provoked by anti gay measures being pushed forward by conservative groups (usually religous ones). In the case of the US it has been about the meaning of marriage, in the UK similar issues have been raised within the church of England by conservative clerics and lay persons, hence all the problems in the summer at the Lambeth conference. With such reactionary groups forcing forward aggresive agendas to withdraw rights or debar gays from certtain jobs it is forcing others to make decisions about where they stand. This is clearly proving difficult for many, such as this apparently “liberal” theatre manager. Well all one can say is that it is flushing out our true friends. Just a bit unfortunate for him since I doubt he will find it easy to find another job in musical theatre…

  32. loki7329 says

    I think cooler heads need to prevail. I was as angry as anyone and just as quick to call for his head, but I think we have gained nothing with his resignation. He made a mistake, as we all have. The public image we have presented in the last few days has made me squirm. Our actions have made us out to be petty and vindication. Yes, we have been hurt, yes it is unjust, but hounding people out of their life’s work for one mistake is not our way.

    I have seen no evidence that he has ever been anything but supportive of the gay community with the exception of this instance. One lapse in judgment does not make a bigot. We have an opportunity to show people the gay community is about love, compassion and forgiveness.

    I think we should ask him to reconsider his resignation. We have everything to gain by this and nothing to lose.

  33. noteasilyoffended says

    LOKI7329:

    I have one word: NO!

    This man knew what he was voting for. This man knew his sister was a lesbian. This man knew he was voting his “convictions” also knowing that they discriminated against another human being. It is obvious that Mr. Eckern voted his conservative religious views and against equal rights. With friends like that, who needs enemies. Good riddance.

  34. John says

    It could only have ended better had his hypocrital ass been fired instead of stepping down.

    Take a look at CMT’s last 5 seasons. With a few stand-out exceptions, one could hardly call this guy innovative, which should be the first calling of an “artistic director” I mean, I like “The Plaids” as much as the next guy, but “artisic”, nuh, uh.

    It was only a matter of time before he rewrote and mounted the first Christian production of “Fiddler”.

  35. Loki7329 says

    Look, I’m not some New Age junkie pedaling turn the other cheek crap. I’m about as ruthless and determined a sonovabitch as you’ll ever meet and I could honestly care less about his career. The point is, this is not the way to win. Pushing him out is a tactical and public relations mistake. It might make us feel good in the short term, but believe me, there are no long term gains.

    The Yes on 8 people won because they ran a better, more disciplined campaign. They also paid attention to what we were doing. Gay people are most effective when we are nice and demostrate that we are like everyone else. Why do you think the our most effective icons are Ellen Degeneres and Will & Grace? The Yes campaign took pains to steer clear of anything that smacked of a direct attack on gay people. This provided voters with cover to vote yes without feeling like bigots or gay bashers.

    By using boycotts and black lists to out and intimidate individual people, we are playing into their hands. We lose our higher morality and appear like extremist.

    Instead, if we embrace people like Scott Eckern, we score public relation points. We look forgiving and tolerant. We regain the higher ground.

    But hey, if you want to lose, keep right on doing what you’re doing.

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