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'Wicked' Protest: Musician Calls on Others to Stop Mormon Licensing

Ldsboycott

Ex-Mormon Jon Powell is calling on musicians and artists to stop licensing their work to groups associated with the LDS Church.

ABC4 reports:

"Powell is leading this front. He's a former member of The Church, and of BYU's Young Ambassadors. His website states, 'I feel all gay artists should not allow their art, music, dance or theatrical piece to be used to promote the Mormon Church.... Please do not support them and do not allow them to use your work to support their message of hate.' Powell has talked with one artist in particular, Stephen Schwartz, the composer of the musical 'Wicked' which the Young Ambassadors wants to use in their show. Powell says, 'For me that material is so blatantly hypocritical... the use of it in the Young Ambassadors show.' Part of an email Schwartz wrote to Powell says, 'I'm looking into it, and if this is truly a Mormon 'promotional' group, rather than just student singers, I will try to do something about it.'"

Watch the news report, AFTER THE JUMP...

(via americablog)

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Comments

  1. Good idea! I think it could be taken a step further though and just ask everyone, gay or straight, to disallow Mormon groups from using their works.

    Posted by: Michael W. | Dec 12, 2008 1:47:30 PM


  2. yes! we need to stop religious hate in its tracks. if you think the bible is nuts, read the book of mormon. wow! yet, these crazies have managed to gather an inordinate amount of power.

    Posted by: nic | Dec 12, 2008 1:59:23 PM


  3. I agree. Take all the gay from the Mormons and fire Donny And Marie from Vegas.

    Seriously, if they want to limit our rights, they (LDS and other "religious organizations") do not deserve to share in our gifts, our talents, our beauty, our wit or anything about us.


    Posted by: Bobby | Dec 12, 2008 1:59:37 PM


  4. What about other religious groups using music? It's not just the LDS that are anti-gay. What about African-American schools using song in their productions? Catholic and Christian schools using songs too? I am all for pulling the rights to using songs, but we must be fair and not just target the LDS.

    Posted by: JJ | Dec 12, 2008 2:02:12 PM


  5. I agree with JJ. The institutional Roman Catholic Church is pretty damned anti-gay as well with their claims that we "intrinsically disordered" people engaging in "evil" in our bedrooms, and doing "violence" to children by placing them in our homes. A place like Baylor, the Southern Baptists' flagship university, shouldn't be excluded from these boycott efforts.

    The key is this: homohatred should carry a cost.

    In my personal life, the cost for homophobes is the loss of my friendship. Vote against me, contribute to anti-gay causes, believe homosexuality is wrong? Out of my life. We can make bigotry costly through collective AND personal efforts.

    Posted by: MAJeff | Dec 12, 2008 2:19:02 PM


  6. oops..."objectively disordered" and "intrinsically evil"

    Posted by: MAJeff | Dec 12, 2008 2:24:52 PM


  7. Uh, JJ, while I luv the idea of denying performance rights of gay works to organizations, religious or secular, and individual bigot trolls like Donny Osmand, [now THAT would be a REAL day without a gay], "African American" is a racial identification only.

    If the admistrators of specific black schools supported H8TE, then, yes, punish them, but your broad brush would also punish the many blacks who DID support us, at significant costs to themselves, such as the Rev. Amos Brown in San Francisco.

    Imagine the bigots surprise if they found out they couldn't perform any songs by Stephen Sondheim ["West Side Story," "A Little Night Music," "Gypsy," "Company," etc., etc.]

    Or by Cole Porter, Elton John, Peter Allen, Janis Ian, AND Tchaikovsky, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, and Leonard Bernstein.

    Little of this will succeed, unfortunately, because of the difficulty in tracking requests to perform music, and because much of the rights to the music is held by nongays, and I don't recall much political activity by those who control their own such as Sondheim.

    But I still luv the idea and applaud Powell and Schwartz!

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Dec 12, 2008 2:36:47 PM


  8. Yeah, it sucks to be shunned, so I'm all for letting ALL anti-gay, anti-Christ "christian" and mormon churches know what we think.

    But I've performed in churches for over 30 years now, and trust me, we may be able to police the larger churches, but many smaller ones either do not know about copyright or do not care about it and take the chances. Having BOXES of Xerox copies and using whatever fits the teaching or sermon has bene the norm.

    Posted by: John Bisceglia | Dec 12, 2008 2:59:35 PM


  9. This is SOO much better than Day Without a Gay!! Keep ideas like this coming...

    Posted by: ugotmeinsd_619 | Dec 12, 2008 3:02:06 PM


  10. To Bobby:

    There's nothing unfair about targeting the lds. They used their massive church infrastructure as one giant PAC to pass Prop 8. They made one huge in-kind donation of facilities and personnel to recruit and fundraise. The $22 million donated by mormon individuals is only a part of it.

    I'm angry at the catholic church and the fundiegelicals, but this was an unprecedented foray by a church into politics and it deserves the harshest response we can generate.

    Posted by: homogenius | Dec 12, 2008 3:15:56 PM


  11. This is the beginning. Focus efforts on one element of the Radical Religious Extremists (Mormons) and hit them hard. A message will be sent to other members of the Radical Religious Elements not to push Gay Americans around. The Catholic Church, Southern Baptist Convention, any and ALL elements of the Radical Religious Extremists will be put on notice. One simple act of courage can have a great impact. Don't give up the fight for Civil Rights.

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Dec 12, 2008 3:53:49 PM


  12. And we need to hit the Mormon Tabernacle Choir--hard. This is the jewel in the mormon crown. We need to pressure classical artists to stop performing with them. Boycott their records. Pressure major orchestras not to perform with them. Make them a pariah in in the music industry.

    Posted by: homogenius | Dec 12, 2008 3:57:47 PM


  13. "What about African-American schools using song in their productions?" said JJ.
    --Can you be any more generic and seemingly bigoted?

    JJ, have you just chosen to ignore facts and just decided to accept and promulgate a debunked falsehood? Towleroad published multiple stories that showed how flawed the Prop 8 exit polls were. Reviews of the No on Prop 8 campaign leaders refused to work with black, Asian, and Latino queer groups.

    Facts? Facts? But who cares about facts?

    Seriously, targeting an African-American school because of its administrator? That makes no sense either.

    Isn't the news filled with stories of white school administrators who are anti-gay--stopping gay/straight alliances, etc.? Why no calls to target those administrators's schools? Here's a nice homophobic white principal: http://tinyurl.com/bigotprincipal

    The Civil Rights Movement used boycotts strategically, focused on real targets. Threatening to boycott people based soley on their race, is well, what's that word? Hmm..oh, yeah, bigoted!

    Posted by: noah | Dec 12, 2008 4:29:03 PM


  14. @Homogenius:

    Good point. When I was singing professionally, I turned down a job with the MTC. The conductor of my group was (is)a very famous figure in choral music, and asked why I was choosing to stay home in protest. I told him that I couldn't simultaneously have self-respect and also sing for a bunch of people who would like nothing more than to round people like me up and push us into the sea. He was surprised, and it became a teachable moment. I've never regretted missing those performances.

    Keep up the good fight, everyone!

    Posted by: The Milkman | Dec 12, 2008 4:45:48 PM


  15. Threatening to boycott people based soley on their religion, is well, what's that word? Hmm..oh, yeah, bigoted!

    But don't worry, it's that GOOD kind of bigoted that gays can always find ways to justify when it suits their own purposes.

    Posted by: Election year pawn | Dec 12, 2008 6:17:15 PM


  16. 1. Election Year Pawn: Let's revise "threatening to boycott people based solely on their religion" to "threatening to boycott people based solely on their religion because their religion HURTS PEOPLE." That's not bigotry (i.e., unfair, irrational prejudice), that's called fighting back. I'm down on radical believers in Islam (and I bet you are, too) for the same reason: They hurt people.

    2. I haven't seen much said about this, but we should definitely be boycotting FranklinCovey (makers of personal organizing systems, with stores around the country). Stephen Covey actively campaigned against equal marriage in Hawaii in the 1990s (and also happens to be Mormon).

    3. For the record, I would never support any boycott of a Mormon individual who publicly disagreed with his or her church's actions relative to Prop. 8. I would want to give such folks MORE business.

    Posted by: Boycott FranklinCovey | Dec 12, 2008 7:57:41 PM


  17. The joke is still on us fags regardless. You think the Mormons are that powerful? We blame them for the loss of Prop 8 but in reality we refuse to see the writing on the walls that we are still in the back of the bus.

    Posted by: Chuck Brown | Dec 12, 2008 7:58:34 PM


  18. Absolutely, boycott the mormons and the mormon church wherever and however possible. We have to keep the momentum going and the message strong. The mormons caved to social and political pressure back in 1978 when their extremely racist beliefs and practices came under fire. If we keep at them hard enough and long enough they will change. But as long as they think that all of their money will trump our efforts then we're screwed.

    We have to keep fighting and boycotting. For those businesses hurt by our boycotts, let the mormons raise another 20 million dollars to bail them out. The mormon church has billions. Let them use that money to right their wrongs.

    Posted by: Tom Clark | Dec 12, 2008 8:11:15 PM


  19. EYP:

    An eye for an eye!

    Maybe instead of pussyfooting around with boycotts the gays should get as violent as the homophobes.


    Posted by: Sean in Dallas | Dec 12, 2008 8:34:20 PM


  20. "Threatening to boycott people based soley on their religion, is well, what's that word? Hmm..oh, yeah, bigoted!"

    Except it's not "soley on their religion." If the Mormons hadn't meddled in our lives and actively worked to deprive us of equality, then there would be no boycott "threats." It is perfectly reasonable for a gay artist to consider not having his work performed by people who view him as a second class citizen. As soon as the Mormons (and other religious institutions) stop attempting to inflict their personal religious beliefs onto our civil marriage rights, the boycotts against them will stop. Until then, we have every right to respond by withholding our money and our songs from people who are trying to withhold our humanity.

    Posted by: Ernie | Dec 12, 2008 8:34:55 PM


  21. This is fucking stupid. It would just be the gay people who refused to license their work who would be losing money. That's fine if they're that stupid. Why not continue to license the work and then use the proceeds to support gay equality efforts?

    I guess that wouldn't be satisfying or logical enough for tempermental drama queens who are more concerned with feeding their need for petulant drama rather than actually accomplishing something.

    Posted by: paul c | Dec 12, 2008 10:26:35 PM


  22. This boycott makes specific and targeted sense. I have opposed the boycott Utah and Sundance Film Festival ideas because they punish some of the most progressive elements of the community. The very idea that composers or other artists would decline the honor of having their work performed will come as a suprise to most mormons. There are many moderate,open minded moermons. As each one of us comes out our families and friends adjust and that number grows. The answer to the protest chant "When do we want it?" may be "NOW", but failing that, we keep working. Gathering supporters and building a coalition is more productive that slaying the enemy. Old enemies die eventually, but a martyr lives forever. It's a fight about equality and justice. It is not about sex. It is about equal protection and opportunity under the law. When our frustration turns to hate and our anger turns to violence we have lost.

    Posted by: Rikard | Dec 13, 2008 2:23:52 AM


  23. just fyi, there's info on tour schedules for the MoTab Choir and BYU's performing arts group here:

    http://chinoblanco.blogspot.com/2008/12/artists-should-pull-licenses-for-mormon.html

    BYU's Young Ambassadors will be touring Europe next year and the MoTab is headed to the Midwest. Nice thing about events like these is that it only takes a handful of folks with signs at each stop along the tour to make an impact.

    Posted by: Chino Blanco | Dec 13, 2008 6:32:52 AM


  24. Since I'm here, might as well leave an opinion ...

    There's nothing stupid about targeting Utah for a boycott, holding the LDS leadership to account, or using Mormonism's cultural ambassadors like the MoTab or BYU's many performing arts groups as a way to get our message through to them.

    Equality Utah has launched a Common Ground Initiative that is based on the statements made by the LDS Church during and after the Prop 8 campaign: “we’re not anti-gay” and “the Church does not object to rights for same-sex couples.”

    The initiative is described here:

    http://www.equalityutah.org/CommonGroundInitiative.html

    It's important to confront the Mormon leadership. They run the most vertically-integrated church in America, which is why they're able to mobilize better than anyone else.

    This same leadership claimed not to be "anti-gay" during the course of the campaign, and we need to help Equality Utah in their effort to hold these Mormon leaders to their word.

    Nobody's being petulant. The only thing that works on the Mormon leadership is constant bad media coverage and pressure, pressure, pressure. The Mormons only stopped discriminating against blacks back in 1978 AFTER opposing ball teams and fans started wearing black armbands to all the BYU games to draw attention to Mormon bigotry.

    If we can put a stop to their anti-gay antics in Utah, that will be a small part of neutralizing their capabilities before the next contest.

    From "No More Excuses: Making the Case for Equal Employment Laws in Utah":

    Utah currently does not have any statewide
    laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. However, in Utah's largest, most
    equality-minded city and capitol, Salt Lake City, there once was a city ordinance on the books that prevented public employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Sadly, the ordinance was on the City’s book for less than a month.

    From late December 1997 to mid-January 1998, Salt Lake City protected employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation; but the Salt Lake City Council
    repealed the ordinance less than a month after its passage. The Salt Lake City Weekly newspaper even went so far as to
    call the short life of the ordinance and its eventual repeal “an outcome of Mormon politics” because of the documented urgings of Latter-Day Saint Church Leaders for their followers to attend the Salt Lake City Council meeting and urge for the ordinance’s immediate repeal.

    Posted by: Chino Blanco | Dec 13, 2008 7:04:57 AM


  25. ELECTION YEAR PAWN, A boycott of the LDS is NOT based at all on their belief system, it's based on their behavior. You know the line, "Love the sinner but hate the sin" It applies in this case. See folks, that sword cuts both ways. Now grab that sword and fight!

    Posted by: Sargon Bighorn | Dec 13, 2008 4:19:56 PM


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