Why An Ender's Game Boycott is Not the Right Answer to Orson Scott Card's Homophobia


I'm going to be real with y'all. I boycott Chick-fil-A, and not just because I'm a vegetarian (we all know those waffle fries are delicious). As much as I am able, I try to make sure that my money is not going to companies that actively work against a world of equality, as Chick-fil-A has been doing for quite some time. Similarly, I have always supported Miss Representation's #NotBuyingIt campaign, which asks people to challenge negative portrayals and underrepresentation of women in media and advertising.

However, when I caught wind of a boycott of this fall's Ender's Game film premiere, I knew immediately that such a boycott was not in my future, despite my love of nonviolent activism. Though author Orson Scott Card, who wrote the series of books on which the movie is based, is vocal about his anti-LGBT views, the positive content of the Ender's Game series is the reason everyone should (please, please) read the books, and then see the movie, despite whatever monetary support doing so will offer Card.

Card's devoted fan base is finally holding him accountable for his views, and it's high time he be taken to task for them. Card is very outspoken about his belief that LGBT-identified individuals have no place in their communities and are undeserving of any sort of rights in society. He also still thinks it's a great idea to counsel the gay away. Uh, yeah. Because that works out so well. In 2009, Card joined the board of the National Organization for Marriage, a group working against same-sex marriage. He recently quietly stepped down from that post, most likely in an effort to mitigate the situation, as Lionsgate distances the Ender's Game film from its author. 

As you may suspect, I find Card's beliefs disgusting. I also feel very betrayed by them. I grew up with the Ender's Game series, which is now 10 books large (depending on how you count). The books shaped how I conceive of the world and the people in it. The series taught devoted readers like me kindness, compassion, equality for all, and a curiosity and openness to the world that stands in complete contrast to the author's personal views. In fact, the story of Ender Wiggin, the main character of the first book, explicitly argues for a more sensitive and accepting world. 

Orson Scott Card may write for Mormon publications, give interviews, and compose essays about his offensive beliefs, but those aren't the words of his that we should focus on. Instead, we should support his more highly read and respected works, and their stronger ideals. I have no problem giving him some of my money by going to the movie and buying the books, precisely because it means he will focus on writing positive works that can impact others as much as they have impacted me.

The Ender's Game series prompted me, as a young adult, to question the world around me and confront difficult ethical issues with openness. It means too much to me to abandon it because of the homophobia in Card's not-so-well-read articles. In this case, I'm sure that the content of the work itself and the positive messages it promotes matter far more than the opinions of its creator. The only thing that concerns me about the Ender's Game movie is that it just won't live up to the books that I remember and love. But what does?