For those of you that follow this sort of Hollywood thing (I don't), I did happen to see the controversy surrounding Director Ron Howard this week. Evidently, he is directing a new movie in which a character states, "electric cars are gay."
Well, no surprise, there is public outcry. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, as well as celebs (Anderson Cooper and Ellen DeGeneres) are raising a protest.
Ron Howard defended his position stating that it came from the mouth of a character and he was using the line to help show what kind of character this was (a rather crude one). He says that the line comes from a fictional character and doesn't reflect his personal feelings. He says he "believes in sensitivity, not censorship."
I'd be interested in other author's take on this. I often have characters in my novels say and do things that I consider offensive. And yes, I do this to offer insight into what type of people they are. I certainly don't want it assumed that I am condoning a certain position just because I have a character mouth off about something controversial.
But, of course, we've all had letters from readers that show they just don't get this. Someone is likely to be offended if our characters say anything off-color (my wife's church librarian years ago used to take black magic marker and obliterate every gosh and darn prompting the youth to hold the pages up to the light to attempt to read the censored words!) or lift a Budweiser to their lips.
I don't condone cussing. Or excessive drinking. But my characters regularly get out of hand and misbehave.
And I love getting them into this trouble so that they can find REDEMPTION.
So, as for Ron Howard's dilemma, I'm going to side with him. GLAAD should get a life. A fictional character saying something offensive says something about the character, not the one who wrote it.
What do you think? Should Howard have caved and pulled the remark?