‘Ender’s Game’ Sparks Same-Sex Marriage Debates At Comic-Con

Comic-Con Panel

Yesterday in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con, the Q&A session for Ender's Game got right to the point about the controversy surrounding the film. The very first fan to the mic asked, "There’s actually been a lot of controversy about the author of the book. How involved was he in making the film?” 

The film's producer, Roberto Orci, responded,

"Obviously, we were first concerned with anyone who might be hurt by anything we were associated with. But we’ve decided to use the attention to … completely and unequivocally support Lionsgate and Summit’s statement in defense of LGBT rights.”

The room broke out in applause.

Not to sound ungrateful for explicit support, but answering the question of "How involved was he?" with "We support our studio's statement of defense for gays," doesn't actually answer her question. Like, at all. Additionally, and I freely admit that this is a nit-pick, saying "We support our studio's statement" rather than making one of your own feels a bit half-assed in terms of support.

Wired has a pretty thorough analysis of the event and the boycott. It includes Milk writer Dustin Lance Black's puzzling declaration that the boycott "is a waste of our collective energy,” and director Gavin Hood questioning the disconnect between the themes of compassion and empathy in the book and Card's real-world views of hateful intolerance. 

Over at Huffington Post, they have Harrison Ford commenting on the controversy with, 

"I don't think that issue rears its head in the work. No part of the story concerns Mr. Card's theories about society in terms of gay issues or homosexual issues."

Which is a complete misdirection. As I pointed out the other day, the boycott is protesting Card himself, not the content of the film.

It's uncertain if the positive reaction at Comic-Con will translate into support for the boycott, but to have an entire hall of con attendees applaud in support of LGBT rights is an encouraging sign that cretins like Card are on their way out.


  1. Jay says

    This is not about content. It is about the money trail (royalties and where that money ends up). I’m not about to shot myself in the foot. Ender’s game boycott lives on.

  2. Randy says

    Hi! My name is Randy. I’ve written several books that have become very popular and would make excellent movies. I have a strong fan base across the US and internationally.

    I’m also anti-semitic and a member of the KKK and I believe all jews should be sent to Israel where they belong and that Hitler was on to something when he decided to exterminate them all. But that won’t be a hinderance to you buying the rights to my book and have me listed as a producer, right?

  3. RonCharles says

    The best take that I heard on this is still for everyone who wants to see the movie to see it, but to donate twice the price of the ticket to a gay rights organization. That will be a lot more money than Orson Scott Card will ever see from your one ticket.

  4. says

    I don’t blame the actors. I am sure they didn’t and haven’t delved into Card’s history and bigotry. I think they surmise he was just against gay marriage and don’t know the exact hateful words he has used through the years. I suspect, they have only read his apology….I do, though, believe the producer, et al, knew what they were getting into, since I am sure they researched everything. I DO NOT believe in censorship, and have no problems with the movie being made and released, however, my money will not be spent to support Card’s bigoted ways.

  5. says

    Declining to se this movie and give Orson Scott Card any money is not censorship.

    Dustin Lance Black is a disgrace. But saying so is not censorship.

    Likewise pointing out that Harrison Ford is an idiot.

    Not censorship.

    And neither is encouraging all LGBTs who have so much as a shred of self-respect to avoid this movie.


  6. Kev C says

    “No part of the story concerns Mr. Card’s theories about society in terms of gay issues or homosexual issues.”

    Frankly, I’m not so sure of that. Could the story be an allegory of fighting against gays imagined as alien attackers? There’s nothing saying it can’t be, and some clues saying it could be.

  7. Vint says

    Sadly, I think the applause was an indication that Liongate’s statement was good enough for the audience to feel that they could attend the movie in good conscience.

    Not a good sign.

    Though I still hope the film has a devastatingly bad opening weekend, I’m not sure it will happen.

  8. Bob says

    If this thing does good business more of his books will be sold and more will be made into movies
    Every gay person should tell his friends and family that he would like them not to attend

  9. Bob says

    If this thing does good business more of his books will be sold and more will be made into movies
    Every gay person should tell his friends and family that he would like them not to attend

  10. Keppler says

    At the end of the day what I’m boycotting is Orson Scott Card. I don’t care about the movie, the actors, the studio, the director, or the fans. I have no beef with any of that. But I’ve got to believe Card’s deal with the studio is structured such that the more successful the movie, the more he get’s paid for the rights, and I’m unwilling to contribute to his personal success. And if that’s just me, so be it.

  11. OP says

    This is so stupid. It’s one thing to boycott a company like Chick Fil A for funding hate, but we shouldn’t be boycotting art, movies, or literature because of something the director or writer did.

    Seeing Enders Game does not mean I support Orson Scott Card’s homophobic views.

    I’ve enjoyed Braveheart and several of Mel Gibson’s other movies, despite him being a Holocaust denying antisemitic nut job. I enjoyed Chinatown despite the fact that Roman Polanski raped an underage girl. Learn to separate the art from the artist.

  12. walter says

    he has the opportunity to make millions off producing this film, which in turn can be then used to support nom’s campaign of bigotry and intolerance. while he has the right to his opinions everyone else has the say right to boycott the film. Why give money to the enemy ? It is like making a contribution to the salvation army.
    I have heard Dustin Lance Black several times but on this issue i think he totally wrong

  13. ArkArk says

    No. Russia. (a country I will never visit again)
    No. Iran (see dead fags hanging from cranes)
    No. See how the US abandoned gay men during HIV/AIDS during the
    80s/90s and continue to do so

    Orson Scott Card calls for the criminalization of you, fags, reading this blog.

    I’m a fag and proudly so and for those who say what does it matter on this whole “orson scott card is allowed to believe in a religion that is a cult” well, then I have nothing left to say.

  14. Kev C says

    Orson Scott Card IS a vicious homophobe, and the idea of enriching him with a single dime or dollar should repugnant to anyone who supports gay rights, which apparently these filmmakers don’t support.

  15. Bob says

    — Sorry, but you are DUMB or you are just 3 lawn jockeys.

    The best thing that could happen is that Card’s movie fails to make money for the studio due to Gays and their friends and families boycotting it.

    IF THE MOVIE IS A BOX OFFICE DOG, CARD LOSES POWER AND MONEY and studios will be wary of his other books

  16. Caliban says

    Oh, fvck you, Alan Brickman and “OP.” “Activism doesn’t achieve anything, so why bother?” Isn’t that basically what you’re saying?

    Actually activism DOES achieve things or we wouldn’t have ANY rights. Where we are right now was built on the actions of those who came before us, people standing up for their rights, sometimes in the face of what seemed at the time to be insurmountable odds. So take your apathy and shove it straight up your @ss.

    It would be one thing if the boycott against Orson Scott Card was merely about Political Correctness or there were some shades of gray to it. But it really IS black and white! Orson Scott Card thinks gay people should face legal consequences for BEING gay, up to and including prison sentences. He also thinks that being gay is synonymous with molesting children. If you are gay then ipso facto you’re just waiting for your big chance to fondle (at best) a child!

    But now he has a big budget movie coming out so he claims that whatever he has said or done in the past is “moot.” Not only that, but that if you hold his past words and actions against him, it’s YOU who is being intolerant of HIM! According to OSC, WE are being unfair when all he ever said was we deserve jail sentences and secretly want to screw children!

  17. brandon h says

    Ooooh no. Don’t let it fool you. These are nerds, and the only thing that overshadows a nerds persecution complex is his sense of entitlement when it comes to his/her nerdly interests. They prefer to pretend that we live in a world where everything is solved or solvable. Like Star Trek only more unrealistic.

    Crappy kiddy sci-fi will trump doing the right thing to most of these people, especially the ones who don’t have an education beyond STEM.

  18. Caliban says

    Apparently I haven’t quite vented my spleen enough.

    What *really* p!sses me off is that according to the mainstream media the ONLY thing Orson Scott Card did is say he was against gay marriage! So it’s vindictive and petty for gay people to hold that simple “difference of opinion” against him.

    Never mind that he’s waged a decade-long war against any gay rights at all, said that being gay should be criminalized, and that how gay people “reproduce” is by molesting children to increase our numbers. He also sits on the Board of NOM, the best known anti gay marriage equality organization in the US.

    But most articles keep trying to reduce why we’re boycotting to some picayune, whiny issue. “Gays threaten boycott because author is against gay marriage.”

    Being “against gay marriage” is the LEAST of Orson Scott Card’s offenses against the dignity of gay people. I really don’t appreciate it being reduced to “just” that. In comparison to the other hateful things he’s written/said that’s WAY down on the list! “Gay sex should be criminalized! By prison sentences if need be! Gay people can’t reproduce so they molest children to swell their ranks!”

    But gays are being “intolerant” of HIS views? How very mean of us!

  19. Kev C says

    This press conference Q&A was the closest thing I’ve seen to “Baghdad Bob” since the Iraq war.

    Orson Scott Card had nothing to do with this movie. He is not one of the producers. He did not write the story. We didn’t pay him a cent. All is well. We are winning.

  20. OP says


    Chill man, you clearly didn’t listen to what I said and had an emotional gut reaction.

    I am all for activism, boycott Google for giving money to anti gay senators like Jim Inhofe. Boycott Chick Fil A for funding hate groups. But don’t boycott an artist.

    Even if this boycott is successful in derailing the film, it isn’t going to make that big of an impact.

    If ender’s game was a record breaking box office hit, it might gross about $2 or $3 billion world wide. That might sound like a lot, but it’s split between several people including theater owners, the studios, and other several other producers.

    Compare that $2-3 billion in revenue $400 billion ExxonMobil took in last year. Exxon takes that money and donates millions to anti gay politicians all over the country. They also discriminate against gays in their hiring policies. That’s 70,000+ jobs denied to people because they are gay.

    It’s a question of priorities. BOYCOTT CORPORATIONS NOT ARTISTS!!!!

  21. Caliban says

    OP, I personally hope “Ender’s Game” is a critical and a miserable box office failure.

    But even if it isn’t, every person who DOESN’T see it is still money lost, so don’t devalue an individual’s influence. It’s beside the point what Exxon does, this is about Orson Scott Card.

    So we’re supposed to respect Orson Scott Card is an “artist,” which makes him above criticism somehow? A lot of people seem to admire the book “Ender’s Game” so I will assume that at some point he did have something to offer. But then at some point his creative output festered and became something else. He’s a science fiction author, but the simple idea that two people of the same gender might be attracted to each other is beyond his imaginative abilities?

    At the very least it’s a failure of imagination that he can’t even conceive of how that might be possible. It’s truly godd@mn offensive that he’s dedicated a large part of his time to oppose gay rights in any form. He might have been an artist before, but now he’s just another reactionary piece of sh!t.

    I have my own personal opinion of what motivates his animus, but only time can prove me right or wrong.

  22. Derek says

    Who is Christian Walters and why he offering up his opinion?? Andy Towle reports the news and doesn’t add any of his own thoughts, because that’s not the type of website that Towelroad is. So, Christian – shut up and report the news. If you want to tell us what you’re thinking, open up a blog and do it there.

  23. JMC says

    It’s unbelievable that in 2013 people with a genuine interest in this movie think the only way for them to see this is to pay. Watch the leaked DVD rip of the movie online two months after the movie comes out like most people do anyways, seriously. There is no reason to fund your own oppression like a moron by seeing this movie in theaters.

  24. Bob says

    #CALIBAN — Card is a board member of NOM. That is all we need to know.
    As to whether he is a closet case or whatever: old line mormons cannot listen to anything that does not promote marrying in the temple and popping out more mormons.

  25. Bollux says

    @CALIBAN @BOB Research “Hamlet’s Father” by OSC. It is one of his many Shakespearean re-imaginations in which King Hamlet is a rampant pedophile, having molested most of his male court and turned them gay. OCS has publicly stated that he could not identify with the original Prince Hamlet, a character that was DID NOT have a child molester as a father. Naw, that doesn’t come across bad touch daddy issues.

  26. Junior says

    Of course I’m boycotting this film. I’ve devoted way way too much of my life to LGBT causes to sell out and pay to see a movie that has such a notable ANTI lgbt person behind it.

  27. Alejandro says

    For me, it’s a simple matter. Orson can make a crap load of money off this film, and I mean a huge load. Why would I contribute to that fund? Might as well just donate to NOM.

  28. Duration & Convexity says

    Sorry Lions Gate. I’m more than positive you are genuine in your support of LGBT issues, but Orson Scott has given hate groups so much resources and checks throughout the years that I couldn’t in good conscious support any project he is aligned with in any capacity. Just based on my own convictions.

  29. Latina Hottie says

    GLBT have every right to boycott any event, or thing, or even movie we wish too. You see, my hard earned money is owed to no one. I don’t OWE anyone my money. Neither do other GLBT or anyone for that matter. And if some of us in our hearts feel this is about principal and integrity, we’ll spend our money elsewhere. It’s called freedom. I don’t hold it against anyone who wishes to see this movie, but I certainly will not be coughing up $12 for it. My community means a great deal to me.

  30. jjose712 says

    Kev C: In fact no, because at the end of the book the message is not pro war, or pro exterminate other species. In fact the final message is a very tolerant one, about the respect and knowledge of who is different from us.

    All that make OSC views more disturbing, because the message of the book clearly contradicts all his articles

  31. anon says

    @OP…. I’m able to walk and chew gum at the same time. I can boycott this movie and continue my long-standing boycott of Exxon/Mobil too. I have switched from Google to BING also. I refuse to shop at WalMart. I stopped going to Chick-Fil-A YEARS ago and will never go back. See how easy that is? No one is limited to a certain number of boycotts to participate in. I’m not required to eliminate any of my current boycotts in order to add Orson Scott Card and any of his works to it.

  32. daws says

    The thought of this movie being a financial blockbuster and netting Card millions of dollars makes me nauseous. Then the offers will be flying in for more of Card’s work and blah blah. Meanwhile, at NOM…

  33. Chevytexas says

    I agree this is a waste of energy. As happy as I am with Towleroad’s expanding universality of interest and bloggers, I think you’re giving Card too much publicity, as well as the studio. Let it vanish into oblivion. ComicCon? Gay Trekkie outrage, if you ask me.

  34. jomicur says

    Dustin Lance Black’s statement is an embarrassment, He’s obviously more interested in protecting his own professional ass than in punishing professional homophobes like Card. “a waste of our collective energy”–really?! Getting up and going to a movie requires some level of energy. Staying home requires none at all.

  35. Chuck Mielke says

    If the movie “Ender’s Game” is anything like the book, it can be read as a coming-of-age story with strong homosexual overtones. It’s set in a military school and the heterosexual interactions are truly minimal. The few females in the book are, as you might expect from a heterosexist writer, shallow and secondary; most of the important action is among the boys. It’s been many years since I first read it, but I don’t recall any women in strong roles.

  36. Kev C says


    I disagree. The novel is a sociopath’s dream. How to kill – and still be innocent. How to kill and still be likable and popular. Show compassion AFTER you kill and destroy. Winning is everything. Win at all costs.

  37. jjose712 says

    Yes, but the final message is that he was wrong, and what he did was bad, and it’s better to find a solution chatting with your rivals not destroying them.
    Ender didn’t know what he really was doing (in fact all the damage he does, he is unconcious, he never knows he is a killer)

    Anyway the probabilities of becoming a big blockbuster are not that high. Scifi is a very limited genre, and you need a broad appeal to become a blockbuster, and lately most of scifi films were big faliures.

    One thing is being a bestseller and other very different a blockbuster film. And scifi like fantasy has the problem of the expensive adaptations so you need to do very well on box office to make the movie profitable.
    Ender’s game is a well liked novel, but it’s appeal is basically teenagers and scifi readers, you need to attract women to make a movie a big success and Ender’s game is not the most appealing novel for women audiences

  38. Kev C says

    The story has as much morality as Joseph Kony’s religion. Use children as soldiers and killers.

    What I don’t understand is why they got Gavin Hood to direct it. If they wanted to make a good film and not mediocre drek, as it appears to be. Harrison Ford’s acting is terrible in the clips. And behind the scenes reports look very amateurish. I’m more concerned about giving it undue publicity than worry if it will become a blockbuster.

  39. Caliban says

    What REALLY p!sses me off is I keep seeing articles that say this whole thing is about Orson Scott Card saying he’s against gay marriage.

    As if he said it once and never repeated it, and gay people are just being whiny and vindictive for holding that one-time slip against him. Gosh, those gosh-darn gays are SO sensitive!

    This isn’t some whiny Politically Correct vendetta against poor little Orson Scott Card. He has written that there should be legal penalties for homosexuality, up to and including prison. He has written that because we can’t reproduce sexually we have to molest children.

    But now he has a movie coming out and a controversy might get in the way of him and Lionsgate making money. So out of nowhere OSC says everything he said and did in the past is now “moot” and it’s intolerant of gays to hold his past words and actions against him.

    Well isn’t that convenient. OSC stands to make some money so now it’s about all us thin-skinned faggots who just won’t let it go. According to many mainstream media stories we’re being unfair to poor innocent Orson Scott Card!

  40. TomTallis says

    OP. So then you consider it wrong for the Israelis to boycott the music of Richard Wagner, a composer that puts Orson Scott Card as a writer into complete and utter darkness?

    There’ll be no money for Card coming from this house.

  41. Michael Bedwell says

    Because they were “insectoid,” obviously Card’s name for the alien villains in the book, “Buggers,” distracted most readers from the fact it is also a century+ old slur for sodomite/homosexual. I’m convinced it was his intentional sly jab at gays whom he has so pathologically hated for so long, disputing the studio’s claim that in NO WAY does the book relate to that hatred. That the movie’s teen star hails from Great Britain where anyone with ears has heard it used that way but also denies any connection only pisses me off more. But more than him, more than Card himself, is this latest example of Dustin Lance Black’s reprehensible cluelessness. SEE: his shameless attempt to stimulate pity for J’Edgar Hoover in the Eastwood bomb, and all his factual errors in the screenplay of “Milk.” He defines “empty suit.”

  42. Tony says

    Orson Scott Card calls the evil aliens in the book “Buggers”, British slang for people who have anal sex. Seriously people, if that’s not homophobia, I don’t know what is. I really wish the media would finally notice that not-so-tiny detail!!!

  43. Keith says

    I want to know if Black, Ford and everyone else defending Card are going to do the same thing for George Zimmerman when he publishes a book about his killing of Trayvon Martin.

  44. TonyJazz says

    There are better ways to spend your money (than to support the evil writer of this silliness).

    Do something good with your entertainment dollars instead.

  45. says

    @OP, dead on, boycotting a person is just stupid, you boycott their company, now we all automatically boycott NOM, what we need to do is boycott lionsgate, etc, then they will kick card off the producer list/squirm forever. That people think this is a boycott on an artist leads people to say stupid carp like how lionsgate is all about the gays or that art is blah blah blah, yeah we know, thats why we are boycotting the movie.

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