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Sony Chairman Amy Pascal Addresses Hollywood's Depiction of Gay Characters: "We Can Do Better. We Have To."

by Beth Hanna
March 26, 2013 1:24 PM
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Amy Pascal
Amy Pascal

As the Supreme Court hears merits and demerits today of the Proposition 8 gay marriage ban, a full transcript of Sony chairman Amy Pascal's remarks at the March 21 fundraiser gala for the LA Gay and Lesbian Center has been released to the Huffington Post. In her speech, Pascal specifically addresses Hollywood's depiction of gay characters, and the progress that still needs to be made: "I'm talking about kids who are gay and I'm talking about kids who aren't gay. One group needs affirmation and the other group needs education. And, if I'm being honest, neither of those issues are high on any movie studio or TV network's agenda." Highlights below.

On the difference "between being gay and other minorities":

The other day, a good friend of mine told me the difference between being gay and other minorities is that you're alone in your own family. If you're a black kid and someone calls you the N word at school, your family is there to comfort you. They know how you feel. They have probably had the same experience. Not true when you're gay. You are truly alone. So I've been wondering how helpful we've been.

On a central plot point found in many films with gay characters:

Proposition 8

Brokeback Mountain, Milk, Boys Don't Cry, Philadelphia, The Hours, Gods and Monsters, The Talented Mr. Ripley, A Single Man, My Own Private Idaho, Cloud Atlas -- in all these movies, the main character is murdered or martyred or commits suicide or just dies unhappily. And there are far more pernicious and dangerous images that confront gay kids and their parents: the lesbian murderer, the psychotic transvestite, the queen who is humiliated and sometimes tossed off a ship or a ledge. It's a big joke. It still happens.

On "ParaNorman," and a character's gayness as incidental to a film's plot:

And real credit has to be given to the filmmakers of ParaNorman, Chris Butler and Sam Fell, who had the first gay character in an animated movie, and he was the football hunk and it was totally incidental to the plot.

Now it's time for all of us to take that step. Not every gay character needs to be defined by his or her sexuality. Can't being gay just be one stitch in the fabric of someone's life?

On Hollywood's insensitivity:

Hollywood sometimes beats its breast a little too much. We should take pride in what we have accomplished. A lot!

On the other hand, go to Google and look up Hollywood's depiction of gay characters. We still have a long, long way to go. We all make mistakes -- I make them all the time -- but the mistakes aren't based on malice or bigotry, believe me. We can be blamed for thoughtlessness, or the rush of starting a movie, but basically, it's really just insensitivity.

Hollywood is rising up to support gay marriage. To that end, some public figures are changing their Facebook profile pics in honor of marriage equality to a red version of the Human Rights Campaign’s logo.  A few are listed below.

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More: Sony, News, News, Amy Pascal


  • Anonymous | July 17, 2014 2:40 AMReply

    This is gay

  • Awstx | March 26, 2013 7:27 PMReply

    The last few comments are insane, a "religious country"? Really? You honestly don't know what religion truley is. If you can't take seeing gay people I suggest you find your own country because its over for the closed minded, uneducated religious fanatics!!

  • Michael Hsu | March 26, 2013 4:22 PMReply

    There's already too much gay characters in movies and TV. I had to cancel my "premium" cable TV (hbo,sho,cinemax) subscription because, believe it or not, "premium" does not mean that I want to watch pro-gay agenda (in every single show). The only channel that doesn't have gay agenda (and still has babes in bikinis) is SyFy (aka SciFi) channel.

  • Anonymous | July 17, 2014 2:43 AM

    Finally! A guy who has since!

  • Amanda | March 26, 2013 3:11 PMReply

    I am always concerned when white liberals compare race to sexual orientation. Amy Pascal of course ignores gay people of colour in her comments. For one thing, being "gay" in America is still linked to people thinking that a person is "white" in colour. Amy Pascal needs to do more about bringing more representaiton to GAY PEOPLE OF COLOUR in Hollywood that's the real problem. There is an over satuation of white gay characters on television and film. Let's say if a kid is black and gay and is called a gay slur. Won't that gay black kid also potentially feel alone? Who is that gay black kid going to talk to? Is it going to be the mainstream LGBT community which also has problems with racism against black gays?

  • Yourwrong | March 26, 2013 3:06 PMReply

    I hope what you write about never happens. If gays want to be accepted, find a new country. We are a religious country and that means we don't support sinners. Also, no movie company will sacrifice promoting what they imagine as "equality" while sacrificing profits. That's Hollywood. Always more interested in the profits. Because I promise you, the movie industry will never make more money trying to make movies supporting gay rights. It will go down. That's why it won't happen.

  • crankiefrankie | March 26, 2013 3:24 PM

    Not only are you wrong yourwrong, your also friggin' crazy.

  • Stephen | March 26, 2013 3:18 PM

    This is a free country so technically one could say it's whatever we the people decide to make of it. Many people in the U.S. are religious, but that doesn't make religious people any more or less entitled than gay people to the freedoms in this country.

  • jbb | March 26, 2013 1:38 PMReply

    Not if you're Black and Gay. And the movies you list have no minorities. "So I've been wondering how helpful we've been." Not very.

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