Mid-Week Poll: Will You Boycott ‘Ender’s Game’?

This weekend brings the theatrical release of the big-budget sci-fi drama ‘Ender’s Game’, starring Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley, and based on a beloved award-winning novel. In many respects, this seems like a sure bet to dominate the box office. Unfortunately, the film arrives steeped in controversy – not over anything in the movie itself, but because original author Orson Scott Card is… well, he’s not a very nice person, and a lot of people really don’t want to support him by paying to see his movie. Are you able to separate the art from the artist and give the movie a shot, or are you among those planning to boycott the film? Vote in our poll.

The novel ‘Ender’s Game’ was first published in 1985 (a prototype short story version of the tale previously appeared in a 1977 magazine) to much success and acclaim. The book was a bestseller and won two of the most prestigious prizes in science fiction writing, both the Nebula and Hugo Awards. The author also extended the story to a popular series of sequel and spin-off novels.

Here’s the problem: Orson Scott Card is a bigot. He’s a flat-out homophobe who has frequently decried the “homosexual activist agenda”, has publicly supported efforts to make homosexuality illegal, and has even advocated overthrowing the U.S. government in order to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage. He’s a nutjob, and an unpleasant individual.

Fortunately, none of the author’s views on this subject are present in ‘Ender’s Game’. The book has nothing to do with the topic of homosexuality. It’s actually quite a good story that could potentially make a good movie adaptation with a little prudent trimming. (The book has a very implausible subplot about a young child who schemes to take over all the governments of the world, and a pointless epilogue that was tacked on to set up the sequel. Both of these would be best excised from the movie’s screenplay.)

In anticipation of the film’s release, Card (who acts as a producer on it) has attempted to backtrack a little from some of his most extreme outspoken views, but not enough to be convincing for anyone. (He says that the issue is “moot” since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, but he didn’t exactly say that he’s had a change of heart about anything.) The studio Summit Entertainment, director Gavin Hood and star Harrison Ford have all bent over backwards to publicly separate their movie from this controversy. Nevertheless, the prospect that box office success for the film could put millions of dollars in Card’s pocket, which he may well use to fund organizations that promote his intolerant agenda, such as the so-called National Organization for Marriage (on which he served as a board member until just recently), has been met with great distaste from many potential viewers, who have called for boycotts.

Of course, this all brings to mind similar controversies involving other disgraced artists such as Mel Gibson (anti-Semite), Roman Polanski (rapist) and comics author Frank miller (misogynistic loon). Like many in their potential audiences, I have mixed feelings about all of these.

Personally, I don’t plan to see the ‘Ender’s Game’ movie. Some of that has to do with Orson Scott Card, but a lot more is simply due to my indifference toward the project. I don’t see too many movies in the theater these days, and I have no desire to waste my time or money on a film made by the director of the godawful ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine‘. I wasn’t likely to buy a ticket to this under any circumstance.

Can you separate your feelings about the artist from his work?

Will You Boycott 'Ender's Game'?

View Results

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  1. Timcharger

    “support for the “homosexual activist agenda” and any other liberal, PC, or Big Government program, does not make him unpleasant or a nutjob. It makes him something worse: an ignorant lemming that abhors self reliance, rugged individualism, and even freedom”

    I completely agree. I learned about “self-reliance” from a book written thousands of years ago. I actually haven’t read that book. Reading is for nerds.

    I’m “rugged”, see the Marbolo Reds I’m smoking and the blue made-in-China American jeans I’m wearing.

    I’m so “individualistic”, I’m an Independent except in how I vote in every issue.

    I love “freedom” so much, that I need to be free to limit your freedoms in the bedroom, courtroom, and public spaces.

    You’re a lemming, Josh, now I need to go watch TV on the 1 source of information I only need.

  2. Josh Zyber

    Sigh. Here’s where the conversation goes off the rails. I suppose this was inevitable.

    I’m going to allow a lot of leeway in the Comments here, but personal attacks and posts that are deliberately inflammatory will not be tolerated. I have already had to moderate a few (not many, but a few) comments from both sides of the debate. I would prefer not to do so, and will ask everyone to keep the discussion civil. We can all learn to respect each other’s rights to hold opposing views, regardless of whether we agree with them or not. Thank you.

  3. Timcharger

    Don’t “sigh” Josh, my posts are pure gold. You’re rolling on the floor, clutching your stomach in pain from laughter.

    I’m the one “going off the rails”?! Josh, are you reading what you’re being called? You freedom-hater.

    “posts that are deliberately inflammatory will not be tolerated”
    deliberately funny, should get some leeway, right?

    And Josh, why do you hate America, so much?
    (You’re not wearing a flag pin on your lapel, right now, I bet.)


    Conservatives, rally around me. Let’s punish Josh, we’ll buy every copy of Dune on blu-ray there is. So, he can’t find any in the stores.

    To make him suffer, let’s crop it and project Dune in 16X9!

    And we’ll destroy and Dune discs and put Prometheus in the keepcase instead!

      • Timcharger

        I’m making both Card and Josh sick right now, because my Prometheus disc is stacked over my Dune disc on the same spindle for some gay-blu-ray love.

        (Oh, I can’t stop making myself laugh!)

  4. hurin

    Movies you have to boykot:

    Taxi Driver. Main character is a racist.
    Apocalypse Now: Animal is killed (for real)
    The Shining: A character has a poster of a nude female on his wall.
    The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Director came from the country the invented fascism.
    Enders Game: The guy who wrote the book is a bigot.
    Seven Samurai: The japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

    • Josh Zyber

      Honestly, hurin, you make a legitimate point here. I have no problem with anyone who chooses to separate the artist from the work and go to see this movie. That’s a perfectly valid point of view. I have paid to see movies by directors like Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, even though I have issues with them as people. And I’m not boycotting Ender’s Game over the author – I just don’t have much interest in seeing it anyway.

    • Timcharger

      Those examples are horrible. Associate 1 person with the entire country they are from? By that logic, only 1 nation has ever used a nuclear weapon of mass destruction (and did it twice). So every American should be boycotted and is guilty of terrorism of indiscriminate (mushroom clouds are not tactical strikes) collateral damage to utmost degree?

      Your examples are not about separating the artist from the work. Your examples are just bad examples.

      Female nudity is a bad thing?

      Characters in the film are racist, the roles are of racist characters, not the actor, but the role-itself is of a racist… And that’s an example you cite?! That’s totally not the point.

      • hurin

        I guess my sarcasm is lost on you.

        I was trying to point out, that you have to seperate the work from it’s creators.

  5. Real World


    How about you actually start doing some research on the quotes, as opposed to just following the media? Here’s the quotes with their FULL background and entirety:


    Seems to me that OSC’s problems are less about homosexuality and more about a) a government that is consistently acting in a less and less democratic way, and b) the need for everyone, on BOTH sides, to respect people’s opinions.

    Either way, unless everyone who intends to boycott Ender’s Game is also boycotting every other movie whose contributors disagree with their own personal values, the boycotters are hypocrites, and making a point just to be sensationalist. Why not boycott Roman Polanski, a charged rapist? Or is rape not as important to you all?

    • Josh Zyber

      “Real World,” I have read the full unedited text of Card’s rants (plural) against homosexuality, and I do not find the defenses and justifications in the article you linked to convincing or accurate. I have also read Card’s very recent screed against “Islamists” and “urban gangs” (i.e. black youths) rallying together under direction of the dark-skinned President of the United States to commit violence upon upstanding white heterosexuals such as himself, which you conveniently ignore and of which there is no possible defense.

      You, however, have obviously not read the full text of my (much shorter) article here, or any of the comments, in which I have made it very clear that I am in fact NOT boycotting the Ender’s Game movie over its author’s behavior or actions. Your use of the word “hypocrite” is unjustified, to say the least.

  6. Pedram

    Hey, the guy’s a big Firefly fan, so there’s gotta be some good in him 🙂

    Personally, I don’t have a problem with supporting someone’s art if it’s good art that I want to see.

    What they do with the proceeds is their choice, and I don’t feel like I’m supporting what they do if I pay to see the person’s art. If they are a bad person, then that’s on them. People should be educated and open minded enough to see past hateful actions and comments. If they are not, then we need to focus more on education rather than trying to silence someone, so that if the person says hateful things then people will recognize how silly and backwards it is and not listen. Anyway, just my 2 cents.

  7. Timcharger

    Josh, I actually really do appreciate your editing work. It’s like I have a Jiminy Cricket to guide me (I meant that complimentary). Deliberately funny should get some leeway…

    • Josh Zyber

      Right now, I would like to keep this conversation on topic to whether people plan to see the movie or not, and not make fun of each other’s personal views. Thanks.

      • Timcharger

        And you do know that I attempt to draw light with humor on those posts that are downright mean and hurtful (but they don’t get deleted because that’s what we consider fair & balanced these days).

  8. derek

    Saw noon showing of Ender’s Game. Loved it. Those fans of the book will be satisfied though alot had to be dropped to fit the 2 hour running time. Saw in Auro 11.1 equipped theater and soundtrack was tremendous. Great score too. Seeing Harrison Ford back to form was just a treat his best movie in years. Asa Butterfield as Endor is also excellent.
    As Ford has stated the morality played in the movie (war/peace/childhood) is done extremely well and shouldn’t be missed whatever you think of Card.

  9. malakai

    I don’t chose to buy (or not buy) music just because I like (or dislike) the singer or band on a personal level. I’m definitely buying the blu-ray when it comes out. Harrison Ford + Sci-Fi = must buy. Come on, we may never see Ford in another Star Wars film! This could be your last chance to see him in the sci-fi realm, you never know.

  10. EvilResident

    I have been back and forth about my opinion on this a lot. My soon-to-be-husband wants to go very badly, and it does honestly look very good.

    That said, I know for a fact that there is no way I could sit through this movie without constantly thinking of Card and the bile he constantly spews.

    So no, I’m not going. My fiancé probably will though, and I’m fine with that.

  11. John Smith

    Reading this makes me want to see the movie even more now. I was going to wait for it to come out on blu-ray but now I will be taking my family to see it this weekend. Thanks Josh!

  12. Thulsadoom

    I’m not going to boycott the movie. Doubt I’ll see it at the cinema (To be honest, we rarely go any more, because of the cost, despite both being movie nuts). We’ll probably rent it, though.

    Card is clearly a ‘visible’ figure with some reprehensible views who will benefit financially from the movie. But does anyone truly believe that the money they spend buying Blu Rays, or going to the cinema, goes to perfectly nice people?!

    The corporations our money goes to probably have their fingers in countless disgusting enterprises that make Card’s views seem positively timid. But if we stopped buying things because a little of the money goes to things we would disagree with, we’d never buy anything. It’s a sad truth of the world we live in. Card’s probably going to see very little of the money anyway.

    If someone seriously wants a reason to boycott the movie, they’d probably be better researching some of the parent corporations and where their money goes… But then they’d have to boycott almost every movie there is.

  13. the man is entitled to his opinion, its called “freedom of speech” he is not required to accept homosexuality as the “norm” just like homosexuals are not required to accept his views as the “norm” sure his words were harsh, but he never acted on them, so it really doesn’t matter what he said, i could say i would like to punch someone in the face, but actually doing it is a different story alltogether

    • Josh Zyber

      Freedom of speech is not the same thing as freedom from accountability. Card is free to say any stupid, offensive thing he wants without fear of being imprisoned for it. That is the only right he’s guaranteed. However, when he does say something stupid and offensive, he risks other repercussions, such as the audience choosing not to support his work or career anymore.

      Also, your statement that he “never acted” on his words is factually incorrect. For many years, Card was a board member of an anti-homosexual hate group that actively worked to disenfranchise gay people by pressuring legislators to deny them the same civil and legal rights that all other citizens have. Imagine if he’d done the same to deny black people the same rights that whites have. Would you support him then?

      (You don’t have to imagine very hard to picture that. Card has also said some incredibly racist things in recent months.)