An upcoming film about the Stonewall riots has faced a huge backlash, with almost 23,000 people signing a petition to boycott it.
The riots, which took place after a police raid on New York’s Stonewall Inn back in 1969, are regarded as one of the most pivotal moments in the LGBT rights movement, with gay and trans people all fighting back against the police.
A trailer for ‘Stonewall’, Roland Emmerich’s film about the riots, was released last week, although it was met with a frosty reception from some, who noted that the film’s decision to focus on Danny, a fictionalised, white and cisgendered man was an example of “white-washing” history.
The controversial trailer also appears to portray Danny as being the first to throw a brick, rather than the transgender people or people of colour known to have been involved in the riots, including Marsha P. Johnson, an African-American drag queen often credited for leading the riots.
One such critic was Pat Cordova-Goff, who set up a petition urging people to boycott the film. This has - at the time of writing - received almost 23,000 signatories.
Pat, a transgender activist, told the New Statesman: “I'm thankful for any visibility of our community, I think it's very important to continue this conversation. However, I don't think our movement is desperate enough to take visibility at any chance we can get. I think we're at the point now where our community is out there. Now we need accurate storytelling.
“This movie might be the first time some people are introduced to queer stories, and by being introduced to a white cis man, they're getting completely the wrong narrative. It only proves that the only attractive form of storytelling is the white mouth.”
The film’s director, Roland Emmerich, has hit back at these accusations on Facebook, insisting: “When this film - which is truly a labour of love for me - finally comes to theatres, audiences will see that it deeply honours the real-life activists who were there - including Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Ray Castro - and all the brave people who sparked the civil rights movement which continues to this day. We are all the same in our struggle for acceptance.”
‘Stonewall’, which stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Jeremy Irvine, is slated for release next month.
Watch the trailer for yourself below: