Independence Day director Roland Emmerich appears to have stumbled into an entirely different sort of disaster movie as LGBT organizations are calling for a boycott of his new film, Stonewall. The reason given for the boycott is Emmerich’s “whitewashing” of the Stonewall story, namely the insertion of a young, white, cis-male protagonist (War Horse’s Jeremy Irvine) in the place of the drag queens/kings and trans people of color like Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Storme DeLarverie, and Sylvia Rivera who are credited with starting the real-life Stonewall riots on June 28, 1969.
Emmerich—who is openly gay himself—has responded to these criticisms, saying that the film, which he calls “a labor of love,” is actually a heartfelt and deeply respectful tribute to these activists, and that detractors should see the movie before making any judgements:
To be fair to Emmerich, he probably didn’t have final cut over the trailer that started this whole debate, and the Hollywood marketing machine isn’t exactly known for taking risks. But with growing debate about the “white savior narrative” and calls for greater diversity on both sides of the camera, making yet another movie that makes a white guy the hero of a story that’s mostly about non-white people also seems rather tone deaf, especially when there are so many dynamic real-life characters Emmerich could have chosen from. We’ll see if any bricks get thrown when Stonewall hits theaters in September.