Outrage (2009 film)
|Directed by||Kirby Dick|
|Produced by||Amy Ziering|
|Written by||Kirby Dick|
|Music by||Peter Golub|
|Editing by||Douglas Blush
|Studio||Chain Camera Pictures|
|Distributed by||Magnolia Pictures|
|Running time||89 minutes|
Outrage is a 2009 American documentary film written and directed by Kirby Dick. The film presents a narrative discussing the hypocrisy of individuals purported in the documentary to be closeted politicians who promote anti-gay legislation. It premiered at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival before being released theatrically on May 8, 2009.
Outrage argues that several American political figures have led closeted gay lives while supporting and endorsing legislation that is harmful to the gay community. The film examines mass media's reluctance to discuss issues involving gay politicians despite many comparable news stories about heterosexual politicians and scandals. Outrage describes this behavior as a form of institutionalized homophobia that has resulted in a tacit policy of self-censorship when reporting on these issues. The film is based on the work of blogger Michael Rogers and his site BlogActive.com.
The following politicians were accused in the film of being closeted gays who vote against gay rights:
- Larry Craig, former US Senator of Idaho
- Charlie Crist, former Governor of Florida
- David Dreier, former US Congressman from California
- Ed Koch, former Mayor of New York City
- Jim McCrery, former US Congressman from Louisiana
- Ed Schrock, former US Congressman from Virginia
Individuals were covered who are not politicians but were included due to their respective involvement with anti-gay stances:
- Mary Cheney, openly gay campaign aide for her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney
- Ken Mehlman, the former Republican national chairman, was named in the film as a closeted homosexual though he was against policies friendly to gays. Mehlman announced in 2010 that he was gay, and would instead work to support pro-gay policies.
People interviewed in Outrage include:
Openly gay politicians
- Tammy Baldwin, former US Congresswoman of Wisconsin, now Senator
- Barney Frank, former US Congressman from Massachusetts
- David Catania, City Councilmember of DC
- Neil Giuliano, former Mayor of Tempe, Arizona
- Jim Kolbe, former U.S. Congressman from Arizona
- James McGreevey, former Governor of New Jersey
- Wayne Barrett, investigative reporter and senior editor for the Village Voice
- Elizabeth Birch, former Executive Director of Human Rights Campaign
- Kirk Fordham, former Chief of Staff to US Congressman Mark Foley
- Patrick Guerriero, former Executive Director of Log Cabin Republicans
- Dan Gurley, former Field Director of Republican National Committee
- Jim Hormel, former US Ambassador to Luxembourg
- Larry Kramer, founder of Act-Up
- Tony Kushner, playwright of Angels in America
- Rodger McFarlane, former Executive Director of Gay Men's Health Crisis
- Kevin Naff, Editor at The Washington Blade
- Michael Rogers, founder of Blogactive
- Hilary Rosen, Democratic lobbyist
- Michelangelo Signorile, radio host
- Andrew Sullivan, columnist for The Atlantic
- Rich Tafel, former Executive Director of Log Cabin Republicans
Awards and nominations
|2009||Jury Award||Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival||Best Documentary||Won|
|2010||Emmy Award||National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences||Outstanding Investigative Journalism: Long Form||Nominated|
Film critics responded, for the most part, with positive reviews. Scott Foundas of The Village Voice praised Outrage for its "well-honed arguments, sound sourcing, and journalistic boldness," and the San Francisco Chronicle's Jonathan Curiel described it as "essential viewing". Variety's John Anderson wrote that the film "is operating from a position of righteous indignation, and that indignation is infectious", while criticizing the film's lack of evidence in making certain arguments. Critic Armond White disliked the film, calling it "no more serious than the spiteful gossipy clown Perez Hilton", and writing that the decision to only out conservatives "influences ideological separatism, encouraging the idea of elite gay privilege".
In an interview with New York Post, Ed Koch denounced the film and claimed that it mischaracterized his record on gay issues. He did not respond to the film's assertions that he had failed to adequately respond to New York City's AIDS epidemic, or to the film's assertions that he had had a boyfriend whom he had pressured to leave New York and remain silent about their relationship.
While some journalists named the political figures discussed in the film, other prominent news organizations, such as The Washington Post, CNN, and NPR, refused to report names. Dick questioned this reluctance, saying, "The press often reports on things that are very painful to the subjects they are writing about. [Closeted gay politicians] are public officials; this is reporting on hypocrisy, and there is an obligation on the press to write about it."
In a review for NPR, film critic Nathan Lee mentioned that Outrage's primary subjects were Larry Craig and Charlie Crist. NPR altered Lee's review by removing these references to Craig and Crist. Lee responded in a comment on NPR's website:
I personally disagree with NPR's policy - there is no other area of 'privacy' that elicits such extreme tact. [I] also feel that it is a professional affront to my responsibility as a critic to discuss the content of a work of art, and an impingement of my First Amendment right to free speech and the press.
NPR deleted this comment as well. An NPR editor later explained these actions, noting that, "NPR has a long-held policy of trying to respect the privacy of public figures and of not airing or publishing rumors, allegations and reports about their private lives unless there is a compelling reason to do so." This statement drew immediate criticism, as NPR had previously speculated on the sexual orientation of public figures such as Adam Lambert and Queen Latifah. This led to questions about why closeted entertainers presented a "compelling reason" for reporting while closeted politicians did not.
Michael Rogers appeared on a Washington, D.C. local news program, News Channel 8's Let's Talk Live, to discuss his work and his involvement with Outrage. One of the show's hosts, Doug McKelway, aggressively criticized Rogers for reporting on closeted politicians. When Rogers suggested that McKelway's views were homophobic, an incensed McKelway told Rogers that he would like to "punch [him] across the face". After the show, Rogers requested an apology, but McKelway, in an on-air rebuttal, refused to give one.
GLAAD Media Awards
Outrage did not receive a nomination for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's 21st GLAAD Media Awards. Many journalists argued that this decision must have been a deliberate snub because Outrage had been one of 2009's most prominent LGBT films. GLAAD responded to the criticism by arguing that Outrage "doesn't promote awareness, understanding and respect for [LGBT] lives and thus does not fit the criteria for the GLAAD Media Awards." Dick said that he was troubled by GLAAD's apparent stance against reporting on closeted anti-gay politicians, noting that "by taking this position, GLAAD is playing into the same philosophy that has kept the closet in place in politics for decades and has caused so much damage."
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- "Full cast and crew for Outrage (2009)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
- Lee, Nathan (May 8, 2009). "White-Hot 'Outrage' Over The Capitol Hill Closet". Movies (NPR). Retrieved April 12, 2013. This NPR piece is reported to have previously included the byline of Nathan Lee, and to have listed Charlie Crist. Megan Slack (May 29, 2009), "'Outrage' Documentary: Activists Outing Gay Conservatives, Huffington Post.
- Leiby, Richard (2009-05-06). "Documentary's Camera Aims To Shed Light On D.C.'s Closet". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-06-17.
- "Best Documentary". Miami, Florida: Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. April 24, 2009.
- Popkey, Dan (July 21, 2010). "Two films with Idaho political connections to be honored at Emmy Awards". The Idaho Statesman.
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- "Koch Has Right to Be Outraged". New York Post. 2009-04-29. Retrieved 2009-06-17.
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- Heywood, Todd (2009-05-07). "DC Anchor to outing blogger: I would like to 'give you a punch across the face.'". The Raw Story. Retrieved 2009-06-17.[dead link]
- "Doug McKelway Still Really, Really Wants to Punch Mike Rogers". Queerty. 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2009-06-17.
- "21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards". Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. 2010-01-13. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
- Abramovitch, Seth (2010-01-13). "Outrage Endures the Final Insult with a GLAAD Awards Snub". Movieline. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
- Knegt, Peter (2010-01-13). ""Outrage"-ous GLAAD Media Award Nominees". Indiewire. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
- "GLAAD Nominates Every Movie + TV Show With Gay Characters, Appeal, Punchlines. Except Outrage?". Queerty. 2010-01-13. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
- Bolcer, Julie (2010-01-15). "Did GLAAD Snub Outrage?". The Advocate. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
- Rogers, Mike (2010-01-15). "Outrage not Nominated for a GLAAD Award". BlogActive. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
- Towle, Andy (2010-01-20). "Outrage Director Kirby Dick Responds to Awards Snub: 'Isn't it Time for GLAAD to Stop Protecting the Closet?'". Towleroad. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
- "How Queer Is That? - Funny how prominent conservatives with antigay records are so often caught in gay sex scandals, isn't it?". Newsweek (Newsweek Inc) 155 (23): 56; Section: Back Story; ISSN 0028-9604. June 7, 2010.
- Official website
- Outrage at the Internet Movie Database
- Interview with film director Kirby Dick at Salon.com