Ellen Page and Julianne Moore are starring in a film called Freeheld, which is about a lesbian couple who are fighting for domestic partner benefits when one of them gets terminal lung cancer.
Ellen Page and the rest of the crew had permission to film a pivotal scene at Salesian High School in New Rochelle, N.Y., but when the subject matter of the film was learned, that permission was revoked and denied.
The school’s principal, John Flaherty, then informed producer Michael Shamberg of the decision reversal.
Shamberg said he respects the school’s right to say no, but is disappointed that he won’t be able to film Ellen Page’s pivotal moment there.
“They turned us down because of the subject matter,” Shamberg told The Hollywood Reporter.
— Ellen Page (@EllenPage) October 24, 2014
The denial is a little bit ironic to a cast that includes Ellen Page and a plot centered around social injustice to gay couples.
Shamberg wrote an email to Flaherty, in which he tried to explain further that the film, based on the final days of Detective Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) with her girlfriend (Ellen Page), was “not about gay marriage, nor are the women attempting to get married. It is about recognizing the dignity of a woman who was a brave civil servant.”
Using religion to justify bigotry makes me sad. Sending my support 2 the LGBT students at the school who I hope r able 2 find acceptance.
— Ellen Page (@EllenPage) October 21, 2014
He added, “I believe the theme of the movie is what Pope Francis recognized just yesterday when he called for the Church to welcome and accept gay people.”
However, after the heartfelt plea, Flaherty simply replied that he would pass it on to the school’s president. Then nothing happened.
“After that it was crickets,” says Kelly Bush, another producer on the film.
— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) October 7, 2014
Flaherty did respond to a request for comment from Buzzfeed. He implied that gay rights, and movies that promote gay stars like Ellen Page, are not their social issues focus.
He said, “All are welcomed at Salesian High School. Our school chooses to embrace the social issues such as hunger, homelessness, poverty, and helping the less fortunate.”
What do you think? Should the high school have allowed Ellen Page and Julianne Moore to film there or are they well within their rights to say no, and let the film crew find somewhere else?