Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Taking Stock: Why Cinemark Shouldn't Get Your "Milk" Money

Originally posted at Nerve.com, the arrogance and hipocrisy of Cinemark CEO and Prop 8 supporter Alan Stock are stunning:

[T]hose pissed off [about Prop 8] have been making their voices and pocketbooks heard by levying boycotts against some of the people who donated vast sums to the campaign for Proposition 8, which has to be one of the stupidest ways anyone ever came up with to announce to the world that they have too much money. One of these worthies is Alan Stock, whose position as CEO of the Cinemark theater chain has made it possible for his new enemies to make him the center of a gesture so improbably perfect that even Schwarzenegger might have to let out a low, admiring whistle.

"No Milk for Cinemark" is a Facebook-based campaign designed to encourage people to make whatever effort they must to not see Gus Van Sant's Milk, which stars Sean Penn as the martyred gay rights activist Harvey Milk, and which is one of the most highly touted pictures of the year, at a Cinemark chain theater. The movie opens November 26; it only took the protest organizers a few days to hit their initial goal of thousand names, so what happens between now and then is gravy. Whatever one thinks of boycotts in general, it's hard to imagine that Milk himself wouldn't have had a few choice things to say about the idea of a company whose boss spent close to $10,000 to prevent gay marriage benefitting from a movie that celebrates his own efforts to prevent the adoption of legal measures designed to make the lives of gays worse. The third-largest cinema chain in the country, Cinemark was last in the news some ten years ago as the result of a long, drawn-out battle with the Department of Justice, which alleged that the design of the theaters' stadium-style seating was discriminatory against disabled patrons. (Cinemark finally settled the case out of court.) In Stock's defense, it should be noted that it makes all the sense in the world for him to be really concerned about what people can and can't do in California, since he lives in Plano, Texas. Reportedly his hobbies include staring straight ahead, parking in handicapped spaces, casting long, lingering gazes at the pool boy when he has his shirt off, and receiving e-mails and phone calls from people who want to know, since he has so much cash to spread around, how's about he help out with their mortgage?


Anonymous said...

I was thinking of going to see "Milk" on one of the free passes I have to Loews, anyway :).

Have you seen it? Did you like it?

Scott said...

I have not seen it yet but I hope to go this weekend. I don't know if there are many Cinemark's in my area, but I'll probably see it at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. That is always a special experience for watching a movie, this time it should be especially so.