Gay rights activists are voicing concerns over the depiction of homosexuals in director Oliver Stone’s upcoming “JFK” movie, which features gay characters involved in an alleged plot surrounding the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
One leading gay organization has dubbed the film, which stars Oscar-winner Kevin Costner, as “about as homophobic as films get.”
Representatives of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, an organization that monitors the depictions of gays in the media, met with Stone on Wednesday to discuss their concerns about the movie. According to people who attended the meeting, Stone made no concessions to the group’s objections, but he did agree to let them see the movie on Dec. 16, four days before it is scheduled to open nationwide.
No member of the group has seen the complete film; their objections are based on reading the film’s final shooting script. Stone reportedly said that some scenes that the group found objectionable in the script have been left out of the movie.
“This is a major film with gay villains. There’s no balance in this movie whatsoever,” said Richard Jennings, executive director of the Gay Alliance’s Los Angeles office. “Gays are the bad guys and they’re all portrayed as being totally bizarre. It also seems strange that the only people’s sexual orientation that you hear about are gay and the film makes a point about it.”
Neither Stone nor his publicist Andrea Jaffe would discuss what transpired at the meeting.
The film is in large part based on the story of former New Orleans prosecutor Jim Garrison and his book, “On the Trail of the Assassins.” The film tells of Garrison’s efforts in the late 1960s to build a murder case against businessman Clay Shaw (played in the movie by actor Tommy Lee Jones), whom Garrison (played by Costner) believed was at the center of a conspiracy to kill the President. Shaw and one of his alleged confederates, David Ferrie, were gay.
Jennings, who attended the Wednesday meeting with Stone, said that the director assured him that one scene that the group found especially objectionable had not made the film’s final cut. In it, conspiracy forces attempted to discredit Garrison by supposedly having him solicit someone in a men’s room.
“In our view, it was sort of a sleazy scene reinforcing the terrible tone in which other gay characters were shown,” said Jennings.
The gay group’s concerns are also based on Stone’s association with another upcoming movie, one based on the life of murdered gay San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk. “The Mayor of Castro Street” is currently in development.
“After meeting with him (Stone), we feel that he’s pretty sensitive to our issues,” said Jennings. “And that’s important to us.”