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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: 


Erasure Song Inspires London Tube Sing-Along: VIDEO

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While waiting for the Tube in Kentish Town, North London, a man decided to pass the time by bursting into a musical number, as ITV points out. While the impulse may be fairly common, this man did what many only dreamed of and brazenly threw caution to the wind. His tune of choice? Erasure's 80s hit "A Little Respect." Soon, the entire crowd waiting on the platform got in on the sing-along.

Watch as the travelers appeal for a little respect, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Erasure Song Inspires London Tube Sing-Along: VIDEO" »


Fiancé Sets Up Foundation to Honor Partner Who Committed Suicide After Coming Out To His Anti-gay Mother - VIDEO

Nazim Mahmood

Matthew Ogston, the fiancé of London doctor Nazim Mahmood who committed suicide last month after coming out to his mother, has set up a foundation in honor of his partner of 13 years, reports Pink News.

Mahmood threw himself off a balcony in July after his mother urged him to seek a “cure” for his homosexuality.

The Naz and Matt Foundation will support people struggling with religion and sexuality.

Ogston said:

“Naz was a very successful individual, he had a very good career. He was an example in society of an upstanding member of the community.

“We just strived to be good people, doing good things in life – everything Naz did was about seeing the happiness in other people.

“With the Naz and Matt Foundation, I’d like to continue that, to provide a support network and place to go for individuals struggling with their sexuality, and trying to come out.

“It’s one of the hardest things for people from religious backgrounds to overcome if they aren’t going to find acceptance in their community.

“The Naz and Matt Foundation is not particularly aimed at any religion. It’s aimed at communities that are very closed in their perception. There’s a lack of understanding.

“They need to realise that we are still the beautiful children they gave birth to – and they need to accept us for who they are.”

Speaking following the inquest into Mahmood’s death, Ogston said:

“When [Naz] asked ‘why do I need to find a cure, there’s nothing wrong with me, I’m just a good person trying to live a good life’, that must have created such a sadness within Naz. I only wish I’d had longer to have spoken to Naz, to try and talk things through and just tell him it would be okay.”

Watch an interview with Ogston, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Fiancé Sets Up Foundation to Honor Partner Who Committed Suicide After Coming Out To His Anti-gay Mother - VIDEO" »


Gay UK Doctor Commits Suicide After Coming Out To Disapproving Mother Who Told Him to Get 'Cured'

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A London doctor committed suicide when he jumped from the fourth floor of his luxury penthouse apartment on Harley Street in reaction to his mother telling him to "seek a cure," after coming out to her, reports the London Evening Standard

Dr. Nazim Mahmood leapt to his death from his balcony the street on July 30, traumatizing nearby pedestrians and children who witnessed his death. An inquest at St. Pancras Coroners Court relayed information that before Mahmood's death, he told his mother that he was gay and revealed his 13-year relationship with his fiance, Matthew Ogston.

Dr. Mahmood kept his sexuality secret from his Muslim family in Birmingham because of fears that their religion would prevent them from accepting him. When Dr. Mahmood returned home to celebrate Eid, commonly known as Ramadan, he decided to come out to his family. Ogston, Mahmood's fiance, revealed that the doctor's mother was less than supportive.

Said Ogston:

"She had suggested to him he needed to see a psychiatrist to see if he could be cured. Together I think they agreed they would get through it. Telling someone they needed to be cured would not be the easiest thing to take."

The court found that Dr. Mahmood, having never suffered from depression or any other mental illness, took the drugs mephedrone and ketamine shortly before his death. Dr. Mahmood was a GP who also ran Face Clinic London - a chain series of medical clinics providing facial treatments for wrinkles such as Botox and chemical peels. Ogston is deeply saddened in the passing of the man he was about to marry, calling him his "soulmate."

Coroner Mary Hassell officially ruled that Dr. Mahmood took his life, and no foul play is involved. Hassell also expressed sadness for Dr. Mahmood's situation.

Said Hassell:

Uk"It seems incredible that a young man with so much going for him could have taken his own life. But what I’ve heard is that he had one great sadness which was the difficulty his family had in accepting his sexuality.

"It seems desperately sad that in 2014 a person should feel that they can’t be accepted because of the way that they live and I can only feel the deepest sympathy for Nazim that he felt so sad and desperate about this that he took his life."

Witnesses say Mahmood's body was left lying on the pavement, covered with a thin, red blanket, just yards away from a busy shopping area for almost four hours. One witness said, "The body was left outside for hours. I can't believe they just left it there. It's like he's an animal." A Scotland Yard spokesman apologized for not having a tent available to shield the body from the public.

The spokesman said:

"There was no tent available to officers to shield the body from the public. Officers instead used blankets. We apologise for any distress this may have caused members of the public."

Dr. Nazim Mahmood graduated from Birmingham Medical school in 2003 and moved to London a year later. He worked in several hospitals with a variety of specialties including HIV medicine, gynecology, orthopedics, pediatrics, accident and emergency before completing specialist training as a GP. Dr. Mahmood, along with colleague Dr. Anita Kapoor, founded Face Clinic London in 2009 with clinics located in Soho, West Hampstead and Harley Street.


British ACT UP Activists Dump Cow Dung Outside Anti-Gay Party's Offices On World AIDS Day: VIDEO

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ACT UP: London is back, and they aren't taking any more B.S. 

Activists from the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power say they dumped half a ton of cow dung outside the UK Independent Party's South London headquarters on Monday, in response to statements by UKIP leader Nigel Farage that people living with HiV should be barred from migrating to Britain.  

Gay Star News reports that the World AIDS Day action symbolizes a resurgence for ACT UP: London, which has been less visible over the last 10 years. 

Activists adorned the "fresh and steaming" pile of crap with a red AIDS ribbon and also hung a banner saying "what goes around comes around." 

ACT UP's Gary Hunter said: 

“We’ve had enough of UKIP’s misinformation and offensive attacks on minorities. We wanted to show Farage that people living with HIV aren’t going to take his B.S. any longer – so we’ve returned it. The vile crap that UKIP keeps spreading stigmatises and ostracises people living with HIV, gay people and immigrants. We thought this steaming pile of muck was a great representation of what we, as HIV-positive people, think of UKIP’s agenda.”

Earlier this year, when asked what types of people should be allowed to migrate to Britain, Farage told Newsweek Europe:  

"People who do not have HIV, to be frank. That’s a good start. And people with a skill.”

The U.K. has never barred immigrants with HIV, even at the height of fear and stigma in the 1980s. Only 12 percent of countries currently deport people with HIV, and the US lifted its HIV travel ban in 2009. 

Farage is not the only member of UKIP to make homophobic comments of late. Earlier this year, UKIP suspended its councillor David Silvester after he said flooding that hit the UK in December and January was caused by same-sex marriage. And last month, the former deputy leader of UKIP, Lord Christopher Monckton, said gay people lead a "deathstyle" and have up to 20,000 partners in their "short, miserable lives." 

ACT UP activist Mario Azeitona said: 

"UKIP keep saying that they speak for ordinary British people, but the vast majority of people totally reject their poisonous views. We are sending a message back to them that they do not represent the Britain most of us know – based on respect, solidarity and community. We hope others who’ve been targeted by UKIP follow our lead so that wherever Farage goes he meets people rejecting his crap and returning it to him. UKIP stink, so Farage better get used to the smell of his own B.S.”

Watch ACT UP activist Dan Glass explain the protest in a video, AFTER THE JUMP ...  

Continue reading "British ACT UP Activists Dump Cow Dung Outside Anti-Gay Party's Offices On World AIDS Day: VIDEO" »


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