Boycott of Sundance Film Festival?
December 7, 2008
PARK CITY, Utah ” There is chatter about a potential boycott of Park City’s ski areas and perhaps the Sundance Film Festival during January. So what has Park City done lately to offend anybody?
Call it guilt by association ” something that Aspen and other Colorado ski areas know something about as the result of a constitutional amendment Colorado voters adopted in 1992. Called Amendment 2, the provision would have effectively prevented any laws banning discrimination against gays. Soon, there was a national call for a boycott.
The singer Barbra Streisand, who commonly vacationed in Aspen, announced she would not perform in Colorado. There was talk of canceling conventions. The boycott, however, seemed to fizzle out of the blocks. Later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the amendment unconstitutional.
In fact, voters in Aspen and most other ski towns had rejected the amendment by wide margins. What’s more, the state measure had been provoked by laws previously passed by Aspen, Denver, and the college town of Boulder that specifically made it illegal to discriminate against gays.
The current heartburn stems from the ban on legalization of gay marriages adopted by California voters in November. A major supporter of that measure was the Church of Jesus of Latter-Day Saints, a.k.a. the Mormons. The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, 30 miles from Park City.
Park City doesn’t know how to measure the impact of a boycott, reports The Park Record, although the Sundance Film Festival, a lucrative event for hoteliers and restaurateurs, has a “significant gay presence.”
Mayor Dana Williams clearly smells an injustice. “It’s too bad that we could potentially take the brunt of an issue we didn’t participate in,” he told the newspaper.
Park City, from its inception as a silver-mining camp, has been a minority in a state where even coffee is sometimes not served because it is verboten in the Mormon faith. Typically, it votes contrary to the statewide votes ” as does Salt Lake City.
If the boycott does materialize, there is a circular irony. After all, the largest throngs at Sundance come from California, where the disputed vote was conducted.