General News

"Jay and Silent Bob" homophobic?

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Aug 03, 2001 | 9:45am EDT

Director Kevin Smith is known for his often explicit and political incorrectness films such as Clerks and Dogma. He knows his films often cross the line, but that's exactly his point in making them. He makes no apologies as his counterparts Jay and Silent Bob spew obscenities about religion, sexual orientation, women and the intricate details about smoking pot. It's the generation he is satirizing and their complete ignorance.

However, this time, Smith may have gone too far and now has to contend with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. The organization has sternly criticized Smith's latest film, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

"GLAAD views this film as being dangerous to the homosexual community," GLAAD entertainment media director Scott Seomin told The Hollywood Reporter. "Our concern is that this movie's target audience is young males, and it is so obviously homophobic."

The criticism has aggravated Smith to no end. He has posted a lengthy explanation on his official Web site and proudly points to his gay-themed film Chasing Amy and insists his new film makes fun of the young male culture who are "terrified of any cock that isn't their own."

Smith told Entertainment Weekly, "Am I going to lead the unenlightened to the Promised Land, and have male [audience members] running around sucking d---? No. But [maybe] a few will walk around more comfortable... I can't be held responsible for how stupid some people are."

Seomin's response is that "we feel it's important to voice our concerns both privately with Kevin and publicly through the media so that these issues can be discussed. This is not about Kevin Smith, who we know is not homophobic. It's about the movie he has made."

Smith agreed to meet with Seomin this week. During the meeting, Seomin suggested that to make amends, Smith make a donation to the Matthew Sheperd Foundation, whose mission is to educate the public on the dangers of homophobia. Smith readily agreed and wrote a check for $10,000 on the spot.

Yet, Smith wanted to emphasize that this donation was not a way of apologizing for the film but as an attempt to help out a worthy cause.

"What really burns me about all this, though, is that now my donation to the Matthew Sheperd Foundation is going to be sullied in the process... It is now being portrayed as an admission of some sort of culpability; that by giving $10,000 to this worthy cause, I'm essentially saying, 'I'm sorry I made some gay jokes,'" Smith wrote on his Web site. "I'm not sorry--because I didn't make jokes at the expense of the gay community."

GLAAD also has asked Dimension Films, which is releasing the film to make a contribution, but it has declined.

"We have, for years, been huge supporters of GLAAD and continue to support them, but we don't feel like this movie is homophobic in any way," Dimension senior VP publicity Elizabeth Clark told The Hollywood Reporter. "Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but we stand behind this movie and are not going to apologize for it."

Smith has been attacked once before for one of his films--the 1999 Dogma--from conservative Catholic groups who staged protests outside theaters and urged people to boycott the film.

"I caught it from the right wing on Dogma, and now I'm catching it from the left wing on this flick," Smith continued on his Web site. "Which am I, people: a bleeding-heart liberal or a Bible-thumping conservative? And when the hell do I get to make a movie in which I don't have to explain myself afterwards?"

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