The Board of Film Independent, the not
for profit organization that produces both the Los Angeles Film
Festival and the Spirit Awards, named its new director on Thursday.
Rebecca Yeldham, who, along with Sean McManus, served as interim
co-director, has been selected to fill the vacancy left after Richard
Raddon was pushed out by the revelation that he had given $1500 to
the Yes-on-8 campaign, the constitutional amendment ratified by
voters in November that yanked back the right of gay and lesbian
couples to marry in California.
Raddon became a casualty of the
post-election Proposition 8 Hollywood war of retribution on November
25 when the board reluctantly accepted his resignation. His first
attempt was met with an unanimous rejection by the board, but the
controversy refused to die down. Resentment simmered as people
inside and outside of Hollywood pointed to the group's explicit
mission to promote diversity in a industry that employs a large
number of openly gay and lesbian people.
“Is it OK to let this go?”
distributor Howard Cohen, an advisor to the film festival who is gay,
told the Los Angeles Times after the board rejected Raddon's
first resignation attempt. “There are a lot of gay people who work
at Film Independent. The issue has not been closed.”
Director Gregg Araki, long considered a
favorite among gay cult film fans for such gems as Mysterious
Skin, agreed Raddon should walk away.
“I don't think he should be forcibly
removed,” he said. “The bottom line is if he contributed money
to a hateful campaign against black people, or against Jewish people,
or any other minority group, there would be much less excusing him.
The terrible irony is that he runs a film festival that is intended
to promote tolerance and equality.”
Gay activists so far have been denied
an explanation about what motivated Raddon.
“As many know, I consider myself a
devout and faithful Mormon. I prefer to keep the details around my
contribution through my church a private matter,” Raddon said in a
statement announcing his departure. “But I am profoundly sorry for
the negative attention that my actions have drawn to Film Independent
and for the hurt and pain that is being experienced in the GLBT [gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender] community.”
Yeldham's tenure begins immediately.