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It Really Seems Time To Retire The National Boycott

Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card

It really is time that national boycotts were put to rest. They just do not work. We see this all the time, and yet, it seems our first response to anything nationally is to call for a boycott. When was the last national boycott that actually worked? It seems hard to remember. Of course, part of the problem with the boycott is that it just isn’t quite as feasible to get enough people angry over a given issue.

While many in the LGBT Community, for instance, might be furious over Orson Scott Card’s views about homosexuality, the average person probably doesn’t care or even know. To him, he’s just an author that they may or may not like.

Those who like Card are going to go see the movie based on his Ender’s Game. Those who don’t might look at it, hear the plot line, and decide if they want to go see the movie or not. Like it or not, Ender’s Game suffers from an age and synopsis problem. The first book is almost thirty years old now, but that doesn’t necessarily mean much since some books manage to be adapted well and they are older.

Ender’s Game has a marketing problem is that it’s baseline story sounds like it combines Star Wars and Starship Troopers. Even though it isn’t, that is the impression that the storyline about a young boy with special abilities training to save humanity from giant space-bugs. (And before I get any more gripes about the comparisons- twenty years ago, I saw on the library shelf a book about writing science-fiction by Orson Scott Card. Before I checked it out, I decided to look at what he had written and came away from Ender’s Game with that impression. I got about two pages into Ender’s Game, wasn’t impressed, and walked away from both books.)

Boycotting Ender’s Game is just not going to get very far; however, the negative press may have been far more potent than anything else. It distracts from the overall marketing of the movie which ends up leaving the average viewer to look at the synopsis and draw their own conclusion- for better or for worse.

In the end, the production crew and stars are having to field questions about Card’s views on homosexuality and defend the adaptation distracting them from actually promoting the film. Somehow, a boycott just doesn’t seem necessary when you’ve got that.



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14 Responses to It Really Seems Time To Retire The National Boycott

  1. hermx

    July 28, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    “My biggest concern is that a boycott will cause groups like NOM to decide to back Card by organizing groups to go see the movie and give it a lot more money.”………
    NOM already backs Card!! They not only back him they ARE him. He is on the board of directors……………….
    You started by saying that a boycott doesn’t work. But they do. Then you rebut with “a boycott may backfire”. Yeah, and sitting on your butt doing nothing will backfire too!…………………………………….
    A boycott is like Shunning rather than just ignoring a problem and hoping it will go away.

  2. hermx

    July 28, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Bridgette P. LaVictoire,

    You really need to go back and look at your Gay and Lesbian History, 101 book.

    NOM and their forerunners have often been effective in using boycotts to deter businesses from implementing gay rights and to stop supporting candidates, etc.

    The “threat” of a boycott, if it indeed has been effective AT ALL, as you claim, proves my point completely. Boycotts have been so effective for the anti-gay movement that even the mere suggestion of a boycott has brought companies to their knees. Now that public opinion is on our side, boycott will be an effective for the LGBT community. Did you see the film, The Help? There is a scene with a report on TV where MLK is calling for a boycott. It worked then. It will work for us now.

  3. Seriously?

    July 26, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    We’re making noise and news right now. And that’s my point. The boycott itself is making noise and getting us closer to getting more people involved. Four months is far off and the ground swell isn’t nearly close to it’s peak. So why tell people to give up now? I’m baffled.

    I do agree with you that conservative groups like NOM may organize viewings. I’m okay with the opposition doing it. They have a right to do so; just as we have a right to organize to boycott it. But this is not fast food. Going to a movie for a family of four will cost them $70-100. Statistically, people who think like him tend to be less well-off. If they want to spend that type of money on a two hour movie, overpriced popcorn and soda instead of a weeks worth of groceries, and if their conviction’s that strong; more power to them for doing it. I don’t think that’s the case, though. This movie is also not Passion of the Christ…I highly doubt a lot of churches other than the likes of Westboro will organize viewing.

    I do appreciate your view on this. It just lets people like me know that we need to be more vocal to our family and friends and be more persuasive about it. Personally, I love the novels, but I have no interest in seeing it because of Card and the things he’s done. No amount of persuasion from the film studio, director, or stars will change my mind.

  4. Seriously?

    July 26, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    My bad. They met with Campus Pride. This is directly related to multiple campuses voting to kick Chick-fil-a’s out of their campuses, due to the boycott GLAAD started. Chick-fil-a stopped donating to Exodus International, Eagle Forum and Family Research Council. The outrage against them, if you’ll recall, is because of their support and donations to these organization as well as Cathy’s incendiary comments. Muppets breaking with them was not the purpose, but welcomed result.

    I have no delusions about the boycott. If it succeeds great, we did something good. If it fails, it’s okay…At least we tried and did something about it; and we’ll continue to try. Rather than just sit around lobbing rocks at people trying to do something.

    Our purpose is to make film studios, producers, and directors to think before they do business with people like him. I also really don’t want his novels to turn into multi-billion dollar franchise with residual coming in.

    You need to do a little more research on his involvement with the movie. He’s a producer, has a voice cameo in the movie, and he’s been rejecting previous film versions due to creative differences. How is it possible he’s not involved. You assessment of his involvement and earning potential is greatly underestimated.

    Good luck with you on trying to stop the boycott.

    • Bridgette P. LaVictoire

      July 26, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      If you have no delusions about the boycott working- why push for a boycott. Just make a lot of noise and bad press and we’ll get the same result.

      I’m just expressing my opinion here. My biggest concern is that a boycott will cause groups like NOM to decide to back Card by organizing groups to go see the movie and give it a lot more money.

  5. Seriously?

    July 26, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Doesn’t the fact that you acknowledge the Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh boycotts working disprove your notion that “they just don’t work”? And “when was the last time” it worked??? Two or three years ago.

    Whatever the case, I find it interested for people to draw a conclusion on the boycott four months before the premier. And considering how far out it is and how loud the voice of boycott is; one can only imagine the traction the movement will gain.

    There’s no doubt in my mind there are people who don’t care about him and what he does. Same can be said of Beck and Limbaugh, but look what happened? Beck is no longer broadcasted on Fox and has really become what he’s always wanted to be, a hermit with conspiracy tendencies; while Limbaugh is nothing more than a fart to the public and the GOP.

    Using NOM boycotts of General Mills, Starbucks, etc. is not representative of boycotts we do. They represent exclusion, hate, bigotry. We are trying to boycott those very same behavior and it’s worked tremendously well. Chick-fil-a’s boycott resulted in them being forced to open dialog and reach out to GLAAD. None of NOM’s boycotts resulted in any of the companies accepting NOM into their table to discuss how these companies can further discriminate and hate on minorities. Not all boycotts are created equally. Those that make sense work, because people aren’t stupid or purposefully ignorant to good causes.

    BTW, I was not “whining”…as my comments say, I’m glad there are naysayers like you who continually tell us to stop. I also put up facts to contradict your points, not whine about the circumstances. But hey, you did say no boycott has worked in recent history, so it’s okay (I guess) for you to draw a whiny conclusion on the facts I presented.

    • Bridgette P. LaVictoire

      July 26, 2013 at 7:38 pm

      But the Chick-fil-A boycott didn’t do much in the end, did it? Additionally, I can’t find any stories of them reaching out to GLAAD. What I did find, though, is that the Muppets broke ties with Chick-fil-A, but other than that, I couldn’t find anything indicating that they reached out to GLAAD in order to do anything.

      The Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh boycotts were anomalies. Currently, there are dozens of boycotts going on across the country on a national level that aren’t actually doing anything. Beck and Limbaugh are well known enough and there was enough of a growing dissatisfaction among businesses with the whole angry-radio hate mongers that they had no issue pulling their ads. The problem is- who the hell knows who Orson Scott Card is?

      Plus, do you think the boycott is going to really hurt Card? This movie’s been in production now for three decades. As David Gerrold noted, Card’s already gotten his money.

      In order for a national boycott to actually work it needs to be an issue that has enough people angry that they’re going to get worked up, and I don’t see a lot of people giving a rat’s ass about Card. I can’t even find huge numbers of LGBT people who are worked up over this.

      But, enjoy your boycott. I’m sure that, when the movie fails, you’ll claim credit, or when it succeeds, you’ll come up with some excuse as to why the boycott didn’t work.

  6. Seriously?

    July 26, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    I would argue that the negative press is part of the boycott. Had it not been for the “Skip Ender’s Game” effort, would you be talking about this? Lionsgate would have included the scumbag in it’s Comic-Con panel. The studio, the director, and stars would not be using money and time to talk people out of the boycott.

    You say boycotts don’t work. A boycott was used against Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers when he called Sandra Fluke a “slut”. He went on to lose sponsors and although he’s still on the air, he’s not called another woman a “slut” since; and the boycott affected his bottom line.

    I’m actually glad there are apologist and defeatist like you advocating for a non-boycott of this idiot. You guys solidify my resolve to boycott him and the movie. The film studio made a calculated bet that people like you would not have the backbone to see through these types of effort and you’ve prove them right; but there are people like me who will boycott his movie and pirate it just for shits and giggles to negatively affect the film studio’s profits. Maybe next time they’ll think about not making a sequel and working with other homophobes and bigots.

    • Bridgette P. LaVictoire

      July 26, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      I find it hysterically funny to hear people whine about my criticism of the boycott. The thing is, unless you’ve got a HUGE number of very angry people out there angry over a particular issue, boycotts just do not work.

      Yeah, boycotts against Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck worked. What about against Glee, Starbucks, General Mills, Pretty Little Liars? Look up One Million Moms- I get emails from them about once a week about some show they’re trying to get pulled off the air, and yet, they haven’t managed to get a single show off the air.

      On the other hand, there are plenty of cases where bad press separate from a boycott worked.

      Thing is- this isn’t even hitting the national news. Unless a very, very large number of people are angry with, a boycott isn’t going to work and can make someone look kind of silly. No one outside the Community cares about Orson Scott Card’s views on homosexuality. I’m not even sure they care much about Card’s writing either.

  7. Hermx

    July 26, 2013 at 11:08 am

    Many folks are against boycotts because it’s too much work, and the rightwinger always bring up ‘boycotts’ as a negative even though rightwing groups have called for thousands of boycotts.

    But lets look at NOM. Not only do they presently have a long list of boycotts, but they also have had many successful boycotts in the past and successful ‘threats’ of boycotts. TV shows have been altered and gay friendly commercials pulled because of right wing boycotts.

    Why did those boycotts work so well? Boycotts will work in your favor when the public opinion is split on an issue or when public opinion favors your view. That hasn’t happened for gay folks much before, so many companies have been afraid to support gay rights or equal treatment, and potential boycotts have made them curb any enthusiasm for even treating their employees fairly. Sure, there have been many HUGE companies that have provided health care for gay spouses, taking the lumps as they come, but the threat of boycott has stopped many more medium size companies from embracing equality in their workforce.

    It’s obvious, with the recent flip in public opinion, that now is the time that a boycott would be the most advantageous for LGBT rights and the most effective.

    If you oppose a boycott on principle or on face value because you agree with the right wing that a gay-boycott “looks bad”. Then say so. But to suggest that a boycott is ineffective is ignoring the long history of successful boycotts.

    • Bridgette P. LaVictoire

      July 26, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      In the last five years, I don’t recall a successful national level boycott- by anyone. In fact, I haven’t been able to find any truly successful boycotts at the national level in the last two decades with the exceptions of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh- and those took a great deal of effort and national level anger to happen.

      NOM’s boycotts of General Mills and Starbucks were pitiful, and the AFA hasn’t been able to get a show changed in at least a decade.

      No, the boycott just isn’t effective on a national scale.

  8. hermx

    July 24, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    It makes me sick to my stomach to think that even a penny of my money might go to support his hate speech. Other folks, are less queasy about that.

  9. hermx

    July 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Sorry to tell you this, but boycotts do work. Recently the artist working on illustrating Orson Scott Cards comic book quit in protest and the project was canceled.

    If you know anything about gay politics, you will know how boycotts have been the main and most effective tool used by NOM and groups like them to oppress the GLBT community. It worked for them while public opinion swayed in their favor, now that public opinion of gay rights has matured, a boycott of this type will be most effective in extinguishing the embers of burning hate speech of the type Orson Scott Card spews.

    • Bridgette P. LaVictoire

      July 24, 2013 at 1:28 pm


      Actually, the incident with Superman wasn’t a boycott.

      And no, NOM hasn’t been effective in using boycotts against the LGBT Community. It was the bad press that did, and even at that, it often didn’t last very long.