Who Cares If Broads Don’t Get Leads?

In the wake of the Warner Bros. controversy yesterday (Coles Notes version: A Warner Bros. President allegedly said that Warner would no longer even consider scripts that have female lead characters, which Warner Bros now denies he ever said) something interesting came up that I thought deserved discussion.

Some people in comments, emails and other websites asked the question “what’s the big deal even if WB is going to do that?”, or “Hey, it’s just business”, or one website (a good one that was just expressing its opinion) even wrote the following:

I have a fair amount of respect for what John Campea, has achieved with The Movie Blog but one of his latest posts just amuses the hell out of me.

Here is my question to all of the movie sites who wanted this boycott to happen. What exactly that is harmful would Warner Brothers have been doing by following this plan. Truthfully, they would not have been hurting anyone.

Now let me say this post is NOT about the WB controversy, but rather some of the attitudes that surfaced in the midst of the debacle. This one specifically…. WHO CARES IF SOME STUDIO BANNED MOVIES WITH FEMALE LEADS? Apparently, some people feel it would be no big deal at all. I however, disagree.

Take for example the above statement: “What exactly that is harmful would Warner Brothers have been doing by following this plan.”

It would have been a social harm. I don’t blame WB or any studio for looking at any script and deciding againt them for whatever reason… but to flat out say, without so much as giving those projects a reading or opportunity, that they wouldn’t even consider scripts with WOMEN in the lead, is socially unacceptable and harmful to a social standard.

Question: What if instead of women, a policy came out that said “We won’t even read scripts that have gays in the lead”, or blacks, or hispanics, or Muslims? To say “we won’t even CONSIDER (or give opportunity) to something based on its gender or color or religion or race” is socially unacceptable and should be stood against.

Look, If a studio looks at 5 scripts, giving them each a fair reading and opportunity, and they feel the one with the women lead stands less of a chance at success than another one of the scripts, fine… that’s business and that’s totally fair. But to say “we won’t even consider a script that calls for one of those black people in the lead” is reprehensible.

Business is business. I get it. But we also have social standards by which business must be conducted. A study may show (I’m totally making this up for the sake of the illustration) that customers are 12% less likely to buy something from a store that has a Muslim sales clerk. A “business is business” mentality says that a store should have the right to refuse to allow muslims to apply for jobs in their stores. But our social standard says you have to give that person the opportunity to at least apply and to be judged on their individual merits. You have to give them the opportunity.

So yes, that report that came out yesterday about Warner Bros. refusing to even read or consider scripts with female leads (true or not) made me mad as hell, frustrated, and above all saddened.

Movies with women as the lead characters or that focus on their stories are already few and far between, and quite often the ones that do get production are horrible to start with. It IS NOT Hollywood’s responsibility to force themselves to make more women centric films or to instill some sort of quota for number of films with female leads… but at the same time it is not their socially acceptable liberty to just eliminate all opportunity for such films either. That would be wrong.

And when such wrongs occur, we have 2 choices. 1) Stand against it and let the offending party know we won’t accept such behavior. Or 2) We can just ask “Who Cares If Broads Don’t Get Leads?”

49 thoughts on “Who Cares If Broads Don’t Get Leads?

  1. Well it’s strange how intolerance begets intolerance. How can you sit back and call WB intolerant of female leads and be intolerant to them doing so. Those at WB should be fully aware of what repercussions such a decision will have, and let the free market decide whether or not such a decision is a good one or not. Who are we to say that this is financially sound or not, we do not have the numbers. If making such decisions brings financial ruin, so be it by letting those scripts be picked up by other studios. Some studios specialize in indi films, others horror, that’s just the way it is. It’s just streamlining the process.

  2. “Who Cares If Broads Don’t Get Leads?”

    I don’t think that was EVER in question- and the idea WB would not cast female leads is ludicrous. Saying no single female lead billing (ie- Angelina Jolie- IS Tomb Raider) is much different than saying no female leads ever. Either way, conspiracy theories aside, WB said it was bunk, which makes this who cares and who doesn’t a theoretical debate.

  3. I was thinking on this a bit more and really I just can’t blame the studios. I blame the general movie goers. Overall, they have stated they want the same generic entertainment fed to them. If the studios respond and give it they are not at fault. We are at fault.

    I do not include movie bloggers and blog readers in this category fully as we generally like to think about movies and willing to give alternatives to the big block buster a chance.

    I also should say one more thing. More power to John C. and anyone else who believes in something and stands up for it. You feel strongly about it and were willing to do something about it. That is admirable, so many people would just let it slide.

  4. I wrote the original post that John C. is referring too. I first off want to say that I do actually think the WB would have been wrong if they did follow through with this plan. I think it would have been a poor business decision as they would have missed out on many good movies.

    I guess it is mostly the due to the fact that I’m pretty cynical but I just don’t see the real the difference between choosing to an earlier time frame to drop movies of a specific nature. I think it would be naive to believe that the studios don’t already drop movies because they feel the general movie going audience will not spend their money.

    For me this equates exactly with choosing to not release subtitled film, foreign film, nc-17 films. The general movie going audience has said we will not watch these so why should the studio be forced to put out movies that will cause them to either make less money than they would have made if they had made something extremely main stream or to even cause them to loose money.

    Perhaps I’m wrong but it seems to me if we were to boycott WB based on this we should also be boycotting several of the TV stations and other movie studios for limiting the number of movies/shows with minorities in.

    On a personal side, do I think they would be morally wrong for doing it, yup I do but like I said I’m a cynic and I think people are morally wrong in about 50% of the things they do and businesses are probably 95% morally wrong most of the time. Yes I’m exaggerating a bit. ;)

  5. i have changed my mind about this, who cares is right, beacuse i dont care if they want to do it i will still see there movies

  6. Pick your battles, gentlemen. Jodie Foster and Charlize Theron won’t go hungry because Warner doesn’t want to make movies with them in the lead anymore. Neither will anyone else in the movie biz. Save all that passion for people who can use them, and causes that need them. Arguing endlessly about what millionaires do 3 months out of the year is akin to trying to save your good China while your house burns down around you. This is not the Middle Ages, and there will be no social ramifications on a larger scale. It is the movie business. They are shallow, corrupt, vain, and at the end of the day, they are all millionaires.

  7. There were people that WEREN’T angry at this? That’s disturbing.

    Great post, John. Very well said. This should be an interesting topic to bring up during my Women’s Studies course tomorrow.

  8. KRISTINA…………….
    BLAH
    BLAH
    BLAH

    JK JUST WHAT I COME TO EXPECT

    GOOD POST BUT FOR ME IM NOT BOYCOTTING ANYTHING..&$%# WB
    AND WELL I BOOTLEG EVERYTHING A WEEK BEFORE IT COMES OUT SO WTF DO I CARE…..THERE ARE STILL ABOUT A BILLION OTHER STUDIO’S…..AND BYT THE WAY I AM A WHITE MALE SO WTF DO I CARE …….STOP MAKING MOVIES WITH WHITE GUYS TO LOL IDC!

    WE SHOULD ALL JUST MAKE MOVIES WITH CGI AND CALL IT A DAY PFFFT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    OK I WAS KIDDING

  9. Shit like this really pisses me off. God, stuff like this makes me wish that women would rise up and wipe out every man on this earth(save for The Rock. And Butler. And Bale).

  10. Hey Eric,

    Yeah, I’m not talking about those people who wanted to wait to see what WB said in response, but rather those of us who just didn’t see the big deal about it if it was real or not. That was a little shocking to me.

  11. Why is it whenever a good topic comes up someone hijacks the thread and starts talking about something else?

    Solid post man. I didn’t really think much about it till you asked what our opinions would be like if it was no blacks or no gays. Brought it all into view really.

    I’m glad wb backed off this thing, or denied it, or whatever. But yeah, we probably should have been a whole lot more outraged.

  12. Goon,

    You can only say someone lied if they had the intent to deceive. Since she herself put in that exact same article exactly what was and what was not said, there clearly was no intent to deceive.

    Now please… posts on the topic

  13. “Your headline argument only holds water as a “LIE” if her article itself didn’t specify and clarify it in the exact same article.”

    Last post on this:
    Thats why I said the headline was a lie and not the article. The headline lied, the article did not. Just to bring it up, you know how sometimes on Fox News they put up on their news chyron: “Bush: Best President Ever?” “Democrats: Baby Killers?” – They use the question mark to push an idea while relying on the question mark to absolve themselves of responsbility of actually saying it outright. its a sneaky tactic. The headline in this case didnt even have THAT level of subtle tact to me. This is why I was that upset by it.

    And I’m off to bed.

  14. Hey Salem

    You said:

    “That’s actually because they know how much influence he has in the internet community…”

    No no no… as much as I’d like to THINK I have a ton of influence, I really don’t. They were on this story already and THEN found me.

  15. Your headline argument only holds water as a “LIE” if her article itself didn’t specify and clarify it in the exact same article. Finke herself laid out exactly what the lady did and did not say. The article was not a lie.

    I’m not going to argue your other (incorrect in my opinion) points anymore.

    Actually, only comment in this thread now about the post and the issue… you’re just repeating yourself now on Finke. If you have more thoughts on Finke, just to the other thread.

  16. I mean, cant you see that you’re basically legitimizing unsubstantiated gossip on the basis that your intentions were good?

  17. John

    1. Many good journalists indeed do not. But you chose to boycott assuming she did have the source. You put trust on her journalism, which leads to 2 and 3.

    2. She made such as big deal this weekend out of it that her silence speaks loudly.

    3. That doesnt excuse a thing. The headline lied, and it was her headline.

    4. Why should she? Because she intended to whip up a frenzy without knowing more, and she certainly did that. She had time to call up a busy womens rights lawyer to stir the pot, but didnt give time to a WB rep, who she clearly could have had access to.

    Sorry, I got more than nothing on this lady. She didnt make her case, but it didnt stop people from rushing to judgment against WB.

  18. Hey Goon,

    FACT – she did not name her sources (Good journalists don’t. That’s a quick way to kill your career)

    FACT – she has not addressed the situation since WB denied the story (Why should she? She’s not the issue, WB is)

    FACT – she headlined her acticle that Alldred called to boycott, when she did NOT. (Her article clearly spelled out what Alldred DID say, it was a bad title, that many movie websites often do to catch attention)

    FACT – she did not seek comment from WB before publishing her article. (Why should she? She wasn’t writing that in her article in the LA News… she was writing it on her Blog

    Sorry… you got nothing

  19. I hate to say it John, as much as I DO AGREE WITH YOU, perhaps you should have waited for a more “official” word before calling for a boycott… We ALL KNOW that WB would have never been so stupid as to actually admit to saying that, and though he might have said it, it would have been easily noticed that WB hasn’t released any female-lead movies. Eventually people would have noticed. WB would never be THAT stupid as to make a mistake like that. And yes, it would have been a social issue. Like, how women are usually protrayed as being sex symbols, right? As far as the film industry is concerned, it’s already happend. The damage has been done, and society has accepted that women will always be viewed as nothing more than eye candy, whether they admit it or not. MOST girls I know judge other girls on film, by saying “omg, she’s so cute,” or “ewww, she’s so old!” To be honest, and NO I’M NOT SEXIST, women seem to be more ok with it then men sometimes! At least it appears this way to me.

    My point is, as much as I love your blogs, I have to say, the call for a boycott without sufficient proof was a bit uncalled for. And I know what your concern was, about society and all, but the fact is, society has already made up its mind to never allow women to be anything more than eye candy in films. It’s sad. It concerns me. I’d love for it to change, as I think that women characters can be EQUAL TO, IF NOT, EVEN MORE interesting than a man’s. But at this point, it’ll never happen. And even women have accepted it.

  20. Instead of just saying I am being hyperbolic, explain why.

    FACT – she did not name her sources
    FACT – she has not addressed the situation since WB denied the story
    FACT – she headlined her acticle that Alldred called to boycott, when she did NOT.
    FACT – she did not seek comment from WB before publishing her article.

    acting on this, the real hyperbole came from her article, and from those who acted on it not taking this into consideration.

  21. Hey Goon,

    The source was good, accredited, award winning and I still believe it. Your use of hyperbole in your attack of her is kind of discrediting.

    I did act rightly, plain and simple. I did give WB a chance to respond, but they ignored me (and everyone else) until they taylored their spinn, figured out how much deniability they had and covered their bases.

    You believe otherwise, fair enough.

  22. one might say theres no wrong opinions, but there are logical fallacies to point out, and i think you’re swimming in them John :P

  23. “While I’m sure “GOON” is an intelligent fellow, this system of argument is the highlight of ignorance. It’s the same vein of argument that a 9 year old child protests with when given detention for a misdeed tries to distract attention by pointing out there are other misdeeds going on in the playground as well, as if that somehow is systemic to his punishment at hand.”

    cant attack the argument? attack the arguer. fine. but you have no point here, considering i was just highlighting that its unfair to say that there were only two choices in how to react, when there are many reasons not to get involved in a boycott. the situation i brought up is just one, that many people find themselves to be setting themselves up as hypocrites if they boycott one thing and accept another. like, what if i boycotted Nike because of sweatshops but bought all my clothes at the GAP?

  24. Hey Marshall,

    We’re glad to have you here. Goon is actually a good gent and passionate about his views. He’s just wrong a lot (unless he’s agreeing with me… then he’s spot on!)

    ;)

  25. “That unless you, at the same time take up every single cause, you should take up none of them?”

    The point is theres such a thing as outrage fatigue John – some people dont take boycott positions because they believe it would be wrong to not take other boycott positions as well for the sake of consistency. that doesnt mean they dont care if ‘broads’ lead movies. like i said, its a false dichotomy, to me even a strawman attack against those who didnt take your stance.

    I dont believe you acted rightly, I believe you acted hastily before the other side could even respond based on flimsy evidence from who turns out is a pretty flimsy source (I mean again, she had to LIE about Alldred’s boycott position… IN HER HEADLINE, to sensationalize the story). There is still NO EVIDENCE that WB did anything wrong, just hearsay uncited sources. This to me was Internet Vigilante Justice, and without good evidence it was completely unwarranted.

    Your heart was in the right place, but you jumped the gun.

  26. Hey kopetkai,

    You said:

    “who cares, there’s no way they could have done it, and look, it didn’t even last a week”

    Well, yes they could have done it… but that’s not the point here. We’re not talking about WB anymore, but rather what our responses were, and what those responses really mean.

    The alegations about WB, true or not (I personally believe they were true, but that’s neither here nor there) isn’t the point… the point is that some of us thought that even if it is true… didn’t see a problem with it. That’s the part that I’m writing about.

    Cheers.

  27. Fantastic piece! Regular reader at /Film and I found you today through them, glad I did. Let me wade in here and pop my comment cherry.

    First of all, your articles on this incident, both yesterdays original one and this one, were both beautifully crafted. You don’t find many bloggers who are able to articulate as well as you do. Beautifully done. You cut to the issue, and expressed your thoughts very well

    Second, the analogy of interchanging minorities is a hammer that really drove this point home and it was well placed.

    Thirdly, the commenter “GOON” (an appropriate moniker) reminds me of a many people who opt for hyperbole arguments when no rational ones are available. For example;

    “considering how many other studios are involved with unfair practices, or things such as Fox and their “News” division, NBC’s parent company’s countless atrocities, etc. – would you stop watching “Heroes” because GE, who own NBC, are war profiteers?”

    While I’m sure “GOON” is an intelligent fellow, this system of argument is the highlight of ignorance. It’s the same vein of argument that a 9 year old child protests with when given detention for a misdeed tries to distract attention by pointing out there are other misdeeds going on in the playground as well, as if that somehow is systemic to his punishment at hand.

    No, the response to the issue yesterday was proportional and appropriate, as was this article. You’ve got a new reader. I look forward to subscribing to the feeds.

  28. So what is your point Goon? That unless you, at the same time take up every single cause, you should take up none of them? This was an issue of a movie making studio, making a movie making policy.

    And yes, I called for a boycott, and rightfully so, with the stipulation unless WB retract such a policy or show Finke was mistaken.

    I acted totally rightly, and would do the same tomorrow should a similar situation come up (granted, that’s unlikely since this is the first time something like this has come up in 4+ years of doing this site). You may disagree, and that’s fine. So noted.

  29. who cares, there’s no way they could have done it, and look, it didn’t even last a week, you are arguing with yourself john.

  30. “And when such wrongs occur, we have 2 choices. 1) Stand against it and let the offending party know we won’t accept such behavior. Or 2) We can just ask “Who Cares If Broads Don’t Get Leads?”

    Seems like a false dichotomy to me – saying you can either choose to be outraged, or say ‘who cares’ or agree. There are other options, everything from considering how many other studios are involved with unfair practices, or things such as Fox and their “News” division, NBC’s parent company’s countless atrocities, etc. – would you stop watching “Heroes” because GE, who own NBC, are war profiteers? You can claim that you cant hold Heroes responsible for what higher ups in the company are involved with, but whats the difference between that and boycotting The Dark Knight because of a higher up at WB that had little to nothing to do with the movie? Some people just dont feel like expressing what is ultimately…

    UNIVERSAL INCONSISTENT OUTRAGE.

    Also the fact that it turns out Nikki Finke isnt a very reliable reporter at all, neither now or historically, who flat out LIED in her articles headline that Allred was boycotting, and didnt contact the studio to allow them to respond… to the fact that all the outrage happened before they responded – I just reject this idea that you only had one of two choices in how to react. You had the choice to wait and see and this movie website didnt do that – it called to boycott.

  31. The part that disheartened me wasn’t those people in the thread yesterday who adopted a “Let’s wait and see if this is true” attitude, but rather those who seemed to balk at it even if it was true. I was thinking about a lot of the things you mentioned in the post John and I’m really glad you brought them up, especially asking if we’d still be responding the same ways if it was about other minorities.

  32. Jeff, WB is mentioned because as I stated at the very beginning it serves as the backdrop to the topic, it’s not the topic itself, as anyone who reads the article can clearly see.

  33. Warner Bros. is mentioned 5 times in this article. And TMB wouldn’t be on this soapbox if it wasn’t for the supposed statements made at WB. So yes, it is very much about the WB thing.

  34. I’m with you on this one John. It’s discrimination, plain and simple. Not to mention ignorant. I wouldn’t even bother listing financially successful movies with women in the lead because that’s not really the point.

  35. Excellent post. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    @Jeff, the story just came out yesterday, and I guess you didn’t actually read the post because it’s not about the WB thing, it’s about a larger topic. Please read before commenting.

  36. I like the so called related posts at the bottom of this article..

    # Hostel 3 Already on Order
    # Superbabies: BabyGeniuses 2 Doesn’t Crack the Top Ten.

    Is TMB going to milk this Warner Bros. thing for the rest of the week? Or are you done now?

  37. One of the best, most well thought out articles you’ve ever done on here john. Bravo. I hope other sites pick up on this one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *