Remember way back in 2007 when certain Catholics organized a boycott of The Golden Compass, an adaptation of the first of Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy?

Their goal was to make the movie tank at the box office, which would then force the filmmakers to abort any plans to bring the next two books in the series to the big screen.

It worked, maybe—at least according to the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. Afterward, the group’s newsletter breathlessly reported, “Even our adversaries begrudgingly concede we were victorious. The movie did so poorly that after two weeks out, it took in $4 million less than Alvin and the Chipmunks did in one weekend!”

Orson Scott Card

Sci-Fi Author and Gay Rights Opponent, Orson Scott Card

While it seems like a burn to get beaten by an irritating chipmunk, it’s also possible that the movie tanked because the adaptation diverged in unhappy ways from the original book. Even a cast with the likes of Sir Ian McKellen and Daniel Craig couldn’t save the movie from being a disappointment.

With the pending release of Ender’s Game, another adaptation of a beloved, classic book, people on the other side of the political spectrum have a chance for a boycott of their own.

So far, though, no one with quite the weight of the Catholic League has stepped up, although a group called Geeks OUT has built a website at

This is their appeal:

“Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card is more than an ‘opponent’ of marriage equality. As a writer, he has spread degrading lies about LGBT people, calling us sexual deviants and criminals. As an activist, he sat on the board of the National Organization for Marriage and campaigned against our civil rights. Now he’s a producer on the Ender’s Game movie. Do not let your box-office dollars fuel his anti-gay agenda. SKIP ENDER’S GAME.”

It is true what they say about Card’s views on homosexuality and gay marriage. Card has called the legalization of gay marriage an act of judicial overreach that signals the end of democracy in America.

(Apparently, both liberty and the pursuit of happiness are meant to be up for a popular vote in Card’s corner of the republic.)

His views on homosexuality are extreme, to say the least. He calls same-sex attraction unnatural, and gays and lesbians “tragic genetic mixups” among people “suffer[ing] from sex-role dysfunctions.”

And he argues that laws permitting same-sex marriage are as disastrous as the abolition of property rights, and that any sane person living in a place with gay marriage would want to leave.

In the same essay, he even threatens to bring down any government that makes gay marriage legal: “I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.”

Now that gay marriage is legal, though, he’s asking for people to “tolerate” his views, which also include the wackadamia nuts opinion President Obama is, “by character and preference, a dictator” who plans to stay in office longer than two terms and hire gang bangers to attack his enemies.

So Orson Scott Card, as evidenced by all of this and his truly terrible haircut, is perhaps not playing with a full deck. His views on homosexuality are unkind at best. Calling for government overthrow verges on the dangerous. And calling the president a dictator is just plain dumb.

So who wants to give money to someone with such a toxic worldview?

It’s not the first time a player in Hollywood has behaved in a questionable or downright illegal way.

Lots of people stopped going to Woody Allen films in the early 1990s, when it was discovered that he was having an affair with the 20-year-old adopted daughter of his longtime girlfriend, Mia Farrow. Though the young woman, Soon-Yi Previn, wasn’t a blood relative of Farrow’s or Allen’s, the whole thing carried more than a whiff of incest for many—but not for Allen himself.

The director was quoted by Reuters in 2011 as saying, “What was the scandal? I fell in love with this girl, married her. We have been married for almost 15 years now. There was no scandal, but people refer to it all the time as a scandal and I kind of like that in a way because when I go I would like to say I had one real juicy scandal in my life.”

And then there’s Roman Polanski, who in 1977 had sex with a 13-year-old girl. He pled guilty but fled to Europe before he was sentenced. He hid there for three decades, continuing to make critically acclaimed films, including “The Pianist,” for which he won a Best Director Academy Award. Polanski eventually apologized to the woman and expressed his regret about the incident.

So how much attention should we pay to the private lives and public views of artists? How much should we let their choices and opinions influence the way we feel about their work?

As with any form of entertainment, it should be an individual choice. If there’s a book that upsets you, don’t read it. If there’s a movie made by a director whose life choices offend you, by all means, don’t see it. Likewise, write all you want about the horrible things they’ve said and done.

Card’s views are ugly and his own bid for “tolerance” as gay marriage gradually becomes the law of the land is chickenhearted to the extreme. It takes a lot of nerve to actively lobby for continued discrimination against same-sex couples—discrimination that costs them in all sorts of ways—while you’re not willing to pay the price of people’s judgment against your opinion.

If you think gay and lesbian people should not be allowed to be married, then you are, charitably, a jerk—in the same way that people who opposed mixed-race marriage in previous generations are jerks. If you don’t want people to think you are a jerk, then don’t be one.

Organizing a boycott, though, is perhaps not the best response to the actions and ideas of an artist.

A person can be a monster and still create good art with ideas and images worth talking about. Ender’s Game is certainly a gripping read, and it’s provoked some controversial discussion at and elsewhere.

What’s more, Orson Scott Card is not the only person to work on Ender’s Game. Though he will certainly profit from it, he’s not the only guy whose paycheck depends on it. There are plenty of people in Hollywood who don’t believe in discriminating against a minority group, including people who worked on this movie.

The answer to bad ideas isn’t boycotting them. It’s putting out better ones in whatever medium you can. And it’s in hoping that someday, after seeing and listening to enough of the better ideas, Orson Scott Card realizes the mental gymnastics he’s using to justify his bigotry and paranoia are a waste of energy, and that he can do more for humanity with love than with hate. His own character, Ender, eventually gets to that point of insight. So we can hope that Card makes it there, too. (And also to a better barber.)

See the trailer: