Anita Bryant | Film | News

HBO Developing Biopic of Anti-Gay Beauty Queen Anita Bryant

HBO is developing a biopic of anti-gay activist and beauty queen Anita Bryant, with Sex and the City creator Darren Star attached to direct.

Anita Reuters reports: "In 1977, she switched to political activism, launching a crusade to repeal a new Miami-Dade County ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. 'As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children,' she said. Her Save Our Children coalition got the new law overturned within a year, and it took 20 years for it to be reinstated. Celebrating her victory, Bryant promised she would 'seek help and change for homosexuals, whose sick and sad values belie the word 'gay,' which they pathetically use to cover their unhappy lives.' She stayed on the anti-gay-rights cause with speaking tours and went to California to support the Briggs Initiative in 1978, a failed attempt to ban gay teachers from the state's public schools. Archival footage of Bryant was featured in the 2008 film 'Milk,' which chronicled Harvey Milk's campaign against the initiative. Bryant's outspoken activism led to a nationwide boycott of orange juice by the gay rights movement. She eventually lost her Citrus Commission contract, and her record and book sales fell sharply. Bryant remarried, tried unsuccessfully to revive her singing career and eventually filed for bankruptcy."

In Des Moines in 1977, gay activists hit Bryant with a pie as a form of protest. She responded, "at least it's a fruit pie."

Watch the pie incident, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Is that Olkahomophobe dead yet?

    Posted by: Frank | Feb 2, 2010 10:39:45 AM

  2. Not yet, although her Wikipedia page is an enjoyable read. Life didn't pan out so well for Ms. Bryant, poor thing:

    Career decline and bankruptcy

    The fallout from her political activism hurt her business and entertainment career. Her contract with the Florida Citrus Commission was allowed to lapse in 1979 because of the controversy and the negative publicity generated by her political campaigns and the resulting boycott of Florida orange juice.[6]

    Her marriage to Bob Green failed at that time, and in 1980 she divorced him, citing emotional abusiveness and latent suicidal thoughts. Green refuses to accept this, given that his fundamentalist religious beliefs do not recognize civil divorce and that she is "still" his wife "in God's eyes."

    Some fundamentalist audiences and venues shunned her after her divorce. As she was no longer invited to appear at their events, she lost another major source of income. With her four children, she moved from Miami to Selma, Alabama, and later to Atlanta, Georgia. In a 1980 Ladies Home Journal article she said, "The church needs to wake up and find some way to cope with divorce and women's problems." She also expressed some sympathy for feminist aspirations, given her own experiences of emotional abuse within her previous marriage.

    She married her second husband, Charlie Hobson Dry, in 1990, and they tried to reestablish her music career in a series of small venues, including Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Their plans failed, however, and Bryant and Dry left behind them a series of unpaid employees and creditors. Her career decline is detailed in her book, A New Day (1992). They filed for bankruptcy in Arkansas (1997) and in Tennessee (2001).

    Bryant returned to Barnsdall, Oklahoma, in 2005 for the town's 100th anniversary celebration and to have a street renamed in her honor. She returned to her high school in Tulsa on April 21, 2007, to perform in the school's annual musical revue. She now lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, and says she does charity work for various youth organizations while heading Anita Bryant Ministries International.

    In a 1980 Ladies Home Journal interview, following her divorce and in the aftermath of her anti-gay activism, Bryant commented on her anti-gay views and said, "I'm more inclined to say live and let live, just don't flaunt it or try to legalize it."[7] However, the biography page on her Anita Bryant Ministries website (written in 2006) continues to defend her earlier anti-gay activism and views.

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Feb 2, 2010 10:46:45 AM

  3. I spoke too soon:

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Feb 2, 2010 11:00:03 AM

  4. Fuck her that bitch....into obscurity she goes..and so WILL Fatass Maggie least AB could sing, all Mags can do is Eat & Bitch, so she can fade away into Jabba the Hut status!

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Feb 2, 2010 11:06:05 AM

  5. Can't wait to watch it. I bet Darren Star could make a masterpiece out of it.
    Please cast Marcia Cross for the leading role!

    Posted by: Cristián | Feb 2, 2010 11:28:42 AM

  6. I'm kind of interested in seeing this. I also think Marcia Cross would be perfect for this part.

    Posted by: bunker | Feb 2, 2010 11:36:50 AM

  7. Ginnifer Goodwin would work too.

    Posted by: Alex | Feb 2, 2010 11:42:18 AM

  8. and here i thought she, like the Wicked Witch of the west, was dead.

    Posted by: grego | Feb 2, 2010 12:05:51 PM

  9. I hope she isn't Paid for this......

    Posted by: John Normile | Feb 2, 2010 12:23:49 PM

  10. That photo's timeless, isn't it?

    Posted by: elcamino | Feb 2, 2010 12:28:54 PM

  11. Why do anti-gays say our lives are unhappy? Have they even actually talked to a gay person that wasn't a self hater?

    Posted by: Gyeong Hwa Pak | Feb 2, 2010 1:19:02 PM

  12. There are few women in the world that deserve to be called a cunt.

    Anita is one of them.

    Posted by: Tralfaz | Feb 2, 2010 1:23:05 PM

  13. @Gyeong Hwa Pak, it's called projection. They need a bogeyman to project all their issues onto.

    Posted by: Alex | Feb 2, 2010 1:28:54 PM

  14. This pic/video gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling every time..

    Posted by: Osman | Feb 2, 2010 1:32:31 PM

  15. I am surprised to hear that HBO is attempting this. If they give a favorable picture of her life, the LGBT community will be PO'ed. If they trash her, the right will scream bloody murder and she will play the victim.

    Thanx fer the link JohnInManhattan -

    That sure is some purple prose. She really fits in with the Oklahoma culture (though I seem to recall that Tulsa was really popular with the Lesbians).

    Posted by: PearlsBeforeSwine | Feb 2, 2010 1:37:02 PM

  16. Why?

    Posted by: Jack M | Feb 2, 2010 2:12:16 PM

  17. Not sure why we need a bio of her, but when they do it, I'm picturing Elizabeth Perkins from "Weeds" playing her.

    Posted by: SebastianQ | Feb 2, 2010 2:37:19 PM

  18. I was just thinking what actress could play Anita but then I remember that John Goodman played Linda Tripp on an SNL skit. Maybe Mario Lopez in drag or better yet, Stephen Baldwin since he needs the money.

    Posted by: todd | Feb 2, 2010 3:44:53 PM

  19. I hope it makes her look as ridiculous as Mommie Dearest does to Joan Crawford!

    Posted by: Pierce_mn | Feb 2, 2010 8:28:53 PM

  20. I nominate Phyllis Diller to play her - the whole life, from kid to might-as-well-be-dead.

    Just another pie in the face to Anita.

    Posted by: Craig | Feb 2, 2010 8:38:25 PM

  21. I think dennis franz would be perfect for this role...but walter would be better (goodman). I hope they're not trying to turn her into a cult icon like they did Joan Crawford. Portraying this bigot in a sympathetic light would be a big mistake. No one needs to feel bad for her because she's pathetic. She's a world class douche bag who has richly deserved the misfortunes that have beset her.

    Posted by: TANK | Feb 2, 2010 8:50:06 PM

  22. I grew up in Florida, and as a kid coming into his own adolescence, I was subjected to a barrage of Anita Bryant's hate on TV and the radio.

    Imagine being 12 years old, knowing you're attracted to the same sex, and having to listen to this witch describe you as a degenerate, a pedophile, and a threat to society.

    For fuck's sake -- I was just a kid... and, without doing anything, she was attaching all of these evil labels to me.

    I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I, inherently, knew I wasn't evil or wrong. Mostly, she just pissed me off.

    That's not true for a lot of kids that came up during her reign of bigotry though. I can't even begin to imagine how many suicides and broken lives her broadcast hate has caused.

    I don't agree with the pie-in-the-face though. Honestly, I felt a brief moment of glee seeing her get pied, but that sort of thing isn't going to get us anywhere.

    We're better than that. That's why we'll win.

    Posted by: David Mudkips | Feb 2, 2010 9:59:01 PM

  23. @PearsBeforeSwine: Darren Starr is going to be directing it. I don't think we need to worry about it being an overly sympathetic portrayal. And I don't think HBO kowtows to religious extremists---it gets more publicity if it doesn't.

    Posted by: Paul R | Feb 2, 2010 11:20:35 PM

  24. David Mudkips, I was 12 years old as well, not yet cognizant I was gay, and yet I remember this event very well. I remember hearing her words of hate and being horrified. I think the pie in the face was the perfect attention getter, non-violent and yet violent.

    I will ackowledge her comeback about the fruit pie was great; if she was more liberal she may have made a great fag hag.

    Gald to hear her life went down the toilet with my then 15-year old feces, where it belonged

    Posted by: Ted | Feb 3, 2010 12:38:31 AM

  25. An Open Letter to Anita Bryant.

    As someone who was gay, a virgin, and in his early teens at the time of your self-appointed crusade, I have nothing good to say about you. People like you convinced young people that they were evil and didn't deserve to live. Many, like me, came close to taking their lives BECAUSE OF THE HARSH JUDGMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION PORTRAYED BY PEOPLE LIKE YOU.

    Thankfully, I had a mother who loved me even if she was a conservative Christian. If I'd had a hateful old bitch like you for a mother, Anita, I'd have taken my own life.

    Please, just die and go to Hell.

    Posted by: Frank | Feb 3, 2010 5:18:26 AM

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