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'Pride' Director Calls Straightwashing Of DVD Cover 'Clumsy' But 'Valid' Marketing Decision

Pride

The other day we told you how the DVD cover for the film Pride was straightwashed prior to its US release on Dec. 23. 

A banner saying "Lesbians & Gays Support The Miners" is missing from a version of the original promotional image that appears on the back cover of the DVD, as shown above, and "gay and lesbian" has disappeared from the description of the film. 

WarchusOfficially, the straightwashing remains a mystery, but the film's director, Matthew Warchus (right), who spoke to Towleroad about the film back in October, is pretty sure it was "someone in the marketing department in the US." 

BBC News reports: 

"Changing the cover is kind of clumsy and a bit foolish," [Warchus] told the station's Phil Williams.

"But this is a film that is loved by people of all political persuasions and sexual orientations.

"I'm just keen for as many people who have yet to see the film to see it."

Warchus added that he "didn't want to preach to the converted" and wanted the film "to find a mainstream audience [and] broaden people's minds.

"I think someone in the marketing department in the US used their marketing judgement to try to remove any barrier to the widest possible audience," he went on.

"It's clumsily done but I understand it and it's a valid instinct," he continued, describing "the nature of marketing" as "over-simplification [and] reductive." 

BBC News also reached out to Ben Roberts, director of the BFI film fund, which backed Pride

"I'm not surprised that the US distributors have taken a decision to sell more copies by watering down the gay content. I'm not defending it, it's wrong and outmoded, but I'm not surprised," Roberts said. 

"It's an unfortunate commercial reality both here and in the US that distributors have to deal with and consider in getting films onto the shop shelf. LGBT material is largely marginalised outside of rare hits like Brokeback Mountain."

BuzzFeed looked into the Pride DVD straighwashing but reports that neither CBS Films nor Sony Home Entertainment, which are handling the film's distribution in the US, responded to its requests for comment:  

However, a source close to the situation told BuzzFeed News this was not an intentional move by CBS Films, which acquired the U.S. distribution rights for Pride in July 2014 and embraced the LGBT themes. The DVD distribution rights, however, were outsourced to Sony Home Entertainment, and the source told BuzzFeed News that CBS Films had no control over or knowledge of the alterations to the DVD boxes, and those at the studio are unclear as to who made the changes. The source said Sony and CBS Films are working together to find out who altered the language and the artwork, and why. Though the DVD isn’t being recalled, the source said the studio and Sony plan to ensure that anywhere the synopsis appears online, it is the original version and not the one on the U.S. DVD.

How hard can it be to figure out who changed the DVD cover and why? Also, did they really think no one would notice? 

Did Warchus sign off on it? And why are we hearing from Warchus and Roberts instead of those responsible for the decision so they can be held accountable? 

Perhaps the straightwashing shouldn't stop anyone from seeing Pride and taking in its important message, but to some extent the decision seems to undermine the very spirit of that message.

UPDATE: Read Warchus' full statement sent to Towleroad by CBS Films, and watch a trailer for the film, AFTER THE JUMP ...  

Continue reading "'Pride' Director Calls Straightwashing Of DVD Cover 'Clumsy' But 'Valid' Marketing Decision" »


CBS Films Looking Into Removal Of Gay References From U.S. DVD Cover of 'Pride'

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The first image above is the original promotional artwork for Pride — the critically acclaimed 2014 film about gay activists who supported a bitter strike by British coal miners in the 1980s. 

The second image is the back cover of the Pride DVD released in the US on Dec. 23. 

Can you spot the difference? 

That's right, the banner in the background saying "Lesbians & Gays Support The Miners" has been removed. 

Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 9.42.08 PMAdditionally, in the description of the film that appears on the back cover, the "London-based group of gay and lesbian activists" have been changed to just "a group of London-based activists," according to Pink News

The Hollywood Reporter has more

Ironically, those changes invert the plot of the film: Initially, the Welsh miners are more comfortable with the LGBT community’s monetary support than with its open sexual identity, but the miners ultimately become comfortable with their new supporters. Several characters come out during the course of the movie.

The film won several prizes at the British Independent Film Awards last month: the best British independent film award, along with best supporting actor and actress prizes for its stars Andrew Scott and Imelda Staunton, respectively.

Representatives for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, which released the disc in the U.S., and CBS Films, which acquired U.S. rights, did not respond to requests for comment.

CBS Films said on Twitter on Saturday afternoon that it's looking into the matter: 


British Embassy Plays Integral Role In The Dominican Republic's First Gay Marriage

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Although same-sex marriage is illegal in the Dominican Republic, the British embassy in Santo Domingo stepped in to provide a legal loophole for a local gay couple, allowing them to tie the knot in time for the New Year.

According to British officials, the embassy was able to legally wed the couple, an unidentified British man and his Dominican partner, thanks to provisions agreed upon in the Vienna Convention. The unique union represents the first legally recognized same sex marriage to take place on the conservative island nation.


Archbishop Of Canterbury Refuses To Explain Why He Opposes Same-Sex Marriage - VIDEO

Welby

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, England, has refused to discuss the reasons behind his opposition to same-sex marriage, reports The Guardian.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, Welby (pictured above) was asked what makes gay relationships inferior in the eyes of the church.

However, the cleric declined to discuss his stance on the issue, saying:

“I’m really not going to answer the question very well because we’re now into conversations within the Church, both globally and locally, and I think if I weigh in at this stage it’s inappropriate.

“It’s something that as you go around the Communion, and having visited all the provinces I’m very aware of this, that is seen by many as an absolutely central understanding of obedience to Christ, in both directions.

“In human terms, it looks impossible, and many people say you shouldn’t bother to try.

“When I listen to people I know that I’m listening to people for whom not just the issue of sexuality but the whole way in which the Church lives and exists and reaches out to people, what it looks like to be a holy church, is something on which they feel passionately and are deeply, deeply, deeply disagreeing.

“If you love them you listen carefully.”

Although Welby has been vocal in his opposition to same-sex marriage, there was some good news last year when he announced a campaign to stop homophobic bullying in Church of England schools.

Watch Welby claim last year that same-sex marriage weakens "traditional" marriage and damages society, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Archbishop Of Canterbury Refuses To Explain Why He Opposes Same-Sex Marriage - VIDEO" »


Benjy The Gay Bull May Have Found True Love: VIDEO

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Benjy the gay bull (above left) may have found himself a boyfriend at an animal sanctuary in England, reports NY Daily News.

Benjy made headlines around the world this month when an animal rights group in Ireland started a campaign to save the bull from the slaughterhouse. John Kelly, a farmer in County Mayo, Ireland bought the bull for breeding last year but was left disappointed when he realised that Benjy is more interested in other bulls.

Many donations were made to save Benjy but his final transfer to the Hillside Animal Sanctuary was made possible by a donation from Sam Simon, the co-creator of The Simpsons.

Within minutes of arriving at the sanctuary earlier this month, Benjy befriended 1-year-old bullock Alex (above right).

 

However, the romance is likely to be short-lived as Benjy is due to be castrated as per sanctuary protocols.

The sanctuary wrote on Facebook that although they are not certain that Benjy is gay, "the fact that somebody thought he was has certainly saved his life!"

Watch an independent.ie report on Benjy's arrival at Hillside, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Benjy The Gay Bull May Have Found True Love: VIDEO" »


Gay Couple of 49 Years Among First to Convert Civil Partnership to Marriage in England

A gay couple together for almost 49 years were among the first to be married under new laws in England allowing civil partnerships to be converted to marriage, reports LogoTV.

Roger192Roger Lockyer (87) and Percy Steven (75) were among the first couples in England to enter into a civil partnership in 2005.

Lockyer said:

“To me, it feels like reaching the top. We really are married. Which is what we have been for nearly half a century of course. But to have formal recognition of that I think is something that’s so unexpected and wonderful.”

Steven said that he is most looking forward to finally joining the couple’s utility accounts because he can now “ask for an account in both names.”

Same-sex marriage became legal in Scotland on Tuesday.  Northern Ireland is now the only part of the UK where gay marriage remains illegal.


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