Free Speech, Limousine Liberal-Style: A Comedy in Six Acts


1) Rich Raddon, "the highly praised and well-liked director of the ever-enlarging L.A. Film Festival," privately donates $1,500 to the campaign in favor of Proposition 8, the California initiative limiting state-sanctioned marriage to heterosexual couples.

2) Because of disclosure laws, Raddon's name shows up on the Prop. 8 donor database. Hollywood blogger David Poland notices, reports the news, and word soon spreads.

3) Raddon resigns from the festival's parent organization (Film Independent, or "FIND"), but the resignation is turned down. Further outcry ensues.

4) About 10 days later, Raddon resigns again. This time it's accepted.

5) On the Santa Monica-based KCRW, arguably the most influential public radio station in the country, Claude Brodesser-Akner, host of the Industry-tracking program "The Business," opens his Dec. 8 show (about Che Guevara, fittingly enough!) with a self-descibed "rant" about the whole episode:

Raddon's censure feels an awful lot we're headed back to a time in Hollywood none of us should want to revisit. It was called the Black List. Let's not shame ourselves with a Pink List to go with it.

6) Chastened no-on-8 types decide to chill out, and think twice before demanding people lose their jobs over their political activities. Ha ha, just kidding. Legendary KCRW General Manager Ruth Seymour–past recipient of a Los Angeles Times First Amendment Award!–takes the unusual step of bitch-slapping Brodesser-Akner publicly:

Last week listeners to this program heard an announcement by host Claude Brodesser-Akner purporting to be a (quote) "rant on behalf of the entire editorial staff of The Business."

Well, a "rant" is certainly what it was, in all the pejorative meanings of that term.

The management of KCRW takes editorial positions on very rare occasions. Management alone has that prerogative. In this instance, management was neither consulted nor informed. […]

The Business compared his resignation to the Hollywood Blacklist days when members of the film industry lost their jobs because of alleged Communist sympathies. The actors, directors, writers and producers who were targeted in the Blacklist never resigned their positions. The Business never offered those who disagreed with the producers the opportunity to answer. KCRW regrets airing this out-of-the-blue opinion and has made it clear to those involved that it is unacceptable. On behalf of the station and its commitment to fairness and accuracy, please accept our apologies and regrets.

Back in 2004, I wrote about how Ruth Seymour A) fired an essayist for inadvertently using the word "fuck" on air, and then B) blamed it on the Bush administration.