The 'Ender's Game' Boycott Begins

7.8.2013

By Andrew Belonsky

Can a gay rights group derail a homophobic writer's $110 million Hollywood picture?

In 1985 1977, Orson Scott Card wrote a short story called "Ender's Game," about a future where exceptional children are turned into pint-sized soldiers in a war against alien bugs. It was pretty standard sci-fi stuff, yes, but the story became a hit, the hit became a novel in 1985, the novel became a franchise -- 14 books, 47 comic books, and counting -- and thanks to a $110 million investment from Hollywood, that original story, so accurate in its portrayal of war games that it's become suggested reading for U.S. Marine Corps cadets, is being made into a big screen action romp starring Abigail Breslin, Harrison Ford, and Asa Butterfield as the titular Ender. It hits U.S. theaters November 1.

But before Summit Entertainment begins to go into full-on marketing mode for this movie, the LGBT group Geeks OUT has launched a Skip Ender's Game boycott to remind moviegoers that in addition to being a beloved sci-fi writer, Card's also a hateful anti-gay activist.

In case you don't recall, Card (pictured) joined up with the National Organization for Marriage in 2009 to fight marriage equality, and last year he supported North Carolina's proposed ban on equality. Same-sex nuptials "mark the end of democracy" in America, he wrote in the Deseret News. Card also described homosexuality as a "sex-role dysfunction" and declares, "If the Constitution is defined in such a way as to destroy the privileged position of marriage, it is that insane Constitution, not marriage, that will die." But those weren't his first forays into anti-gay crusading. He's been at it for decades. Card in 1990:

"Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.”

Thus, Geeks OUT's "Skip Ender's Game" boycott.

"Do NOT see this movie! Do not buy a ticket at the theater, do not purchase the DVD, do not watch it on-demand. Ignore all merchandise and toys. However much you may have admired his books, keep your money out of Orson Scott Card’s pockets," the group says on the boycott's official website. (They may find a supporter in sci-fi writer Elaine Radford, who compared Card's protagonist to Adolf Hitler in an oft-cited essay called  "Ender and Hitler: Sympathy for the Superman.")

Whether Geeks OUT's efforts are successful remains to be seen, but a similar outcry did derail another, smaller Card project: a Superman story published by DC Comics. Once word got out that Card was set to write an issue of Adventures of Superman, and fans protested, artist Chris Sprouse bowed out and eventually DC was forced to put the story on the shelf.

It's too late for Summit Entertainment to pull the plug on Ender's Game, and it's probably too late from stopping Card from becoming a very rich man, so will a boycott be worth it? What do you think, reader? Should an entire movie be boycotted for the writer's anti-gay politics?

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