Why Do We Boycott 'Ender's Game' But Give Roman Polanski An Oscar?

Orson Scott Card, whose science-fiction book Ender's Game is being released as a film, is a conservative Mormon with a long history of attacking gay people and their rights. He's also one of the most respected sci-fi writers of all time. This has really got sci-fi fans and gay rights activists in a moral dilemma as the momentum for the film builds up to its November 1 release.

Orson Scott Card has gone far beyond opposing gay marriage. In 1990, he wrote in Mormon publication Sunstone Magazine, “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.” 

While the activist group Geeks OUT has every right to "Skip Ender's Game" and start a boycott of this man's work, let's also consider infamous Hollywood director Roman Polanski, who has been convicted of a sex crime which actually still exists.

In 1977, Roman Polanski pleaded guilty to raping then 13-year-old Samantha Geimer inside the home of Jack Nicholson. Before his sentencing, he fled the country and has not returned to this day.

Geimer, who is releasing a memoir in September about the attack, has expressed forgiveness of Polanski. In 2003, when her attacker was nominated for an Academy Award, she wrote in the L.A. Times:

I believe that Mr. Polanski and his film should be honored according to the quality of the work. What he does for a living and how good he is at it have nothing to do with me or what he did to me. I don't think it would be fair to take past events into consideration. I think that the academy members should vote for the movies they feel deserve it. Not for people they feel are popular.

If people including Samantha Geimer can look past the wrongs of Roman Polanski, why can't we also ignore the crazy bantering of Orson Scott Card? For gay rights activists, the crime Orson Scott Card committed isn't really a legal offense, but the wound is very fresh. It's wise to do whatever they can to bring attention to their cause, but it might be a bit of a stretch to reject a film with so many well-intentioned contributors for just one crazy, old sci-fi writer. Still, for a group like Geeks OUT, it means a lot to have so many science-fiction fans standing against something they might otherwise hold sacred.  

On November 1, when it's finally time to decide, weigh the price of the ticket against your own values.  Should we honor the art despite its creator, or can we stand against an artist by boycotting his or her work?

In my case, I'll probably rent it.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Angie Hartley

an expat artist and teacher living in South Korea

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