'Stonewall' trailer sparks outrage, boycott petitions

Mon. August 10, 2015 9:57 AM by OnTopMag.com

Two petitions are calling for a boycott of director Roland Emmerich's upcoming gay rights drama Stonewall.

The petitions went up soon after Tuesday's online release of the film's trailer.

Both accuse Emmerich of "whitewashing" queer history.

"It is time that black and brown transwomyn and drag queens are recognized for their efforts in the riots throughout the nation," a GSANetwork.org petition reads. "From the preview alone, we know that will not be happening."

"A historically accurate film about the Stonewall Riots would center [around] the stories of queer and gender-noncomforming people of color like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. Not relegate them to background characters in the service of a white cis-male fictional protagonist," a Move On petition reads.

The film follows Danny Winters (played by Jeremy Irvine) as he arrives in New York City and becomes increasingly involved in the burgeoning gay rights movement. The film's trailer shows Danny throwing a brick through a window as the protests become increasing violent.

In a Facebook post, Emmerich, who is openly gay, responded to the controversy.

"The courageous actions of everyone who fought against injustice in 1969 inspired me to tell a compelling, fictionalized drama of those days centering on homeless LGBT youth, specifically a young midwestern gay man who is kicked out of his home for his sexuality and comes to New York, befriending the people who are actively involved in the events leading up to the riots and the riots themselves. I understand that following the release of our trailer there have been initial concerns about how the character's involvement is portrayed, but when this film – which is truly a labor of love for me – finally comes to theaters, audiences will see that it deeply honors the real-life activists who were there – including Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Ray Castro – and all the brave people who sparked the civil rights movement which continues to this day," he said.

The film will have its world premiere at next month's Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and opens in theaters on September 25.

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