Fiasco: LA Premiere of Geert Wilders Documentary Cancelled Due to Christian Action Network Link
Richard Bartholomew printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Mar 25, 2010 at 12:49:43 PM EST
Yesterday Rob Boston explained how he had been in communication with Dutch media about Martin Mawyer of the Christian Action Network. CAN recently made a documentary about Netherlands MP Geert Wilders, entitled Islam Rising: Geert Wilders' Warning to the West,  and Wilders was due to fly to Los Angeles for the premiere. However, Wilders was challenged on Mawyers' history of crude anti-gay rhetoric by Dutch journalists, and the event has now been cancelled - resulting in some rancour between Mawyer and two of his conservative allies outside the Christian Right: Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller.
The website for the film now carries a passive-aggressive cancellation notice:
Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller have cancelled the LA Premier featuring Geert Wilders and PRB Films' new documentary film "ISLAM RISING". As stated on the Atlas Shrugs website, the purpose of this cancellation is because Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller are opposed to Christian Action Network's biblical view on homosexuality

We want it to be understood that neither Christian Action Network nor PBS Films cancelled this event. You can direct all comments regarding this cancellation to Pamela Geller at www.ATLASSHRUGS.COM.

Though we have some disagreements with Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer over biblical issues, we also want it to be clear that we have the greatest respect for them personally and professionally for all their work in the counter-Jihad movement.

We apologize to Geert Wilders and all those who have pre-registered for this event. All credit cards that have been charged WILL be refunded.

The notice fails to make clear, though, that Wilders himself also pulled out of the event. Wilders initally tried to shrug off Mawyers' anti-gay views, stating that
'I totally disagree with them about this [gay marriage],' Wilders was quoted as saying by the Pers. 'But they can make a film about me.'

That was noted on 22 March; the next day it was reported that he was backing out, and Geller and Spencer announced the cancellation - although, like Mawyer, they make no reference to Wilders' own decision not to attend.

Geller's response to the notice on the Islam Rising website is typically vitriolic and aggrieved:

Contrary to the false and misleading posting on the CAN Islam Rising film site, let me be clear. Our cancellation had nothing to do with the "Christian Action Network's biblical view on homosexuality," but with the abusive, ugly rhetoric found in various pieces of CAN literature. Atlas readers are well aware that I welcome differing opinions and perspectives, but the unifying theme here is individual rights, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and human rights.

Just because you consider something immoral doesn't mean you should go around heaping abuse on those who have a different view of those whom you consider immoral.

Robert Spencer, meanwhile, adds that:
The cancellation had nothing to do with the "biblical view of homosexuality," but with the ugly, vitriolic rhetoric that Mawyer has employed in the past... Taking a stand against something one considers immoral is one thing; indulging in hysterical, self-righteous, abusive rhetoric is quite another.

...Do we think Martin Mawyer, or anyone, should be dogged by something he wrote in 1997? Of course not. He has claimed that this letter is a forgery. Very well. If he provides evidence of that, I will be happy to see it and post it. He has claimed in statements to the Dutch press that he repudiates what he said in this letter. Very well. But his disingenuous posting on the Islam Rising site does not inspire confidence. If he repudiates what he wrote in 1997, why mischaracterize it on his site as our alleged rejection of the "biblical view of homosexuality"?

This is humbug: Spencer has known all about Mawyer's anti-gay bigotry for months. Last autumn, Spencer joined Mawyer on a trip to the UK - Mawyer used the visit to interview the leaders of the English Defence League, and there was a farcical dinner party that was cancelled at the last moment when it became apparent that Mawyer's assistant had invited the EDL leaders to come along without asking if that was acceptable to the other guests, who included British "anti-Jihad" conservatives such as Douglas Murray(Murray and the other guests, it should be made clear, are also opposed to homophobia and would not have known much about CAN). I blogged on this fiasco, and on Mawyer's lurid anti-gay views, and my posts were picked up by Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs. On 6 September, Johnson linked to my post on Mawyer, and on 9 September he made full reference to Mawyer's fundraising letter - which denounced Ellen Degeneres for her "FILTHY LESBIAN LIFESTYLE - and mocked Spencer for hanging out with the "extremists of the Christian Action Network".

We know that Spencer read these posts, because he responded on his blog, denouncing Johnson as a "libelblogger" and defending his association with CAN:

As for the CAN, I am working with them because of their excellent work on the documentary Homegrown Jihad. I do not feel myself bound to endorse every one of their other positions, or consider that I have done so, by working with them. In reality, I don't make public statements on issues that are not jihad-related.
As I blogged here, Spencer also made passing references to me in comments he left at the British blog Harry's Place, so it's clear he knew exactly what Mawyer stood for and did not consider his "hysterical, self-righteous, abusive rhetoric" to be a matter that he should take notice of. Mawyer's coarsely-expressed bigotry only became an issue once it became clear that than association with him would be damaging to Wilders.


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