Gay and Lesbian Alliance Looks at ‘JFK’
The Dec. 6 Calendar article on the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s concerns regarding the script of Oliver Stone’s “JFK” bore the inaccurate headline, “Gay Rights Activists Protest ‘JFK.’ ” Contrary to that headline, GLAAD told the story’s writer that we would not reach a decision on whether to protest the film until GLAAD representatives had actually screened it.
GLAAD representatives have since met with Stone and attended an advance screening.
In our view, the film’s negative portrayal of three gay characters and disproportionate focus on the sexual aspects of their lives can only reinforce inaccurate impressions held by moviegoers who derive their primary information about gays and lesbians from consistently negative screen portrayals.
We are particularly concerned about an unlikely and gratuitous scene depicting gay characters dressed in elaborate costumes and involved in some kind of sadomasochistic activity. We also question the inherent imbalance in the portrayal of the gay characters as kinky, bizarre and pathetic, while Jim Garrison, played by Kevin Costner, is a classic Hollywood hero--whitewashed, according to most critics, of real historical blemishes.
One of Stone’s next projects is “The Mayor of Castro Street,” based on Randy Shilts’ biography of slain San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk. Having met with Stone and others involved in this next project, we are hopeful that he has been sufficiently sensitized to gay and lesbian concerns to produce in this film, about a real-life gay hero, the kind of powerful and enlightening screen images needed to counteract overused Hollywood stereotypes.