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Director and writer Bill Condon, of “Gods and Monsters” fame, is feeling the sting of an effort by Kinsey critic Dr. Judith Reisman and radio counselor Dr. Laura Schlessinger to expose the late “father of the sexual revolution” as a “man who produced and directed the rape and torture of hundreds of infants and children.”
Alfred C. Kinsey
“He’s very upset by this whole thing,” the film’s executive producer Bobby Rock told WorldNetDaily. “The notion of a few people coming out and making this guilt by association is unfair.”
Rock, who works for Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope studios, called the accusations against Kinsey “totally bogus,” insisting that the biologist’s connection to pedophilia amounted to research gathered from one man.
“He interviewed a pedophile, and now it’s coming back to haunt him,” he said. “If you talk to a man who is a pedophile, it doesn’t make you a pedophile.”
Reisman contends, however, that Kinsey’s involvement with research on children was much more extensive, and she emphasizes that there is not “a shred of scientific data” that would support his “notion of child sexuality.”
Myriad Pictures is financing the Kinsey drama, which features actor Liam Neeson in the title role. Rock said he expects filming to begin in May.
Telling the whole story
Schlessinger’s radio campaign is based on Variety magazine’s decision to back down on an agreement to publish a paid ad by Reisman that warns Hollywood film makers of Kinsey’s promotion of pedophilia. The talk show host was one of the ad’s financial supporters.
Ad rejected by Variety magazine
Variety publisher Craig Hitchcock rejected two versions of an ad negotiated by Reisman, calling it “inappropriate” for the entertainment industry publication. Reisman believes Variety spiked the ad because it would embarrass the Hollywood elite, “who hypocritically scream ‘censorship’ when we protest their sex and sadism fare.”
Schlessinger says on her website, “I believe it is the filmmaker’s duty to tell the whole story about Kinsey and to not be beguiled by the glorified propaganda promulgated by his sex institute in Indiana.”
The campaign apparently has generated a substantial number of letters to Myriad, American Zoetrope, Neeson and others involved with the film, encouraging them to portray Kinsey accurately.
But Maxine Leonard, Myriad’s executive vice president of marketing and public relations, told WND that the film is going ahead without a hitch.
“There is this letter-writing campaign, but we’re just ignoring it,” said Leonard, a UK native who formerly served as director of development for the Globe Theater in London.
However, Rock said Dr. Laura’s campaign could actually result in a small adjustment to the movie.
“The writer may have a response in the script, a scene, just to show [Kinsey] had misgivings [about the pedophile], and now it’s coming back to haunt him posthumously,” he said.
Reisman has charged that Kinsey’s socially explosive 1948 book, “Sexual Behavior in the Human Male,” contained a record of human experiments conducted by pedophiles on hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children. The Kinsey study, widely seen as the book that launched the “sexual revolution,” has been used to support the contention that sexual activity in children is natural and healthy and should not be repressed.
John Bancroft, director of the Indiana University sex research institute that bears Kinsey’s name, maintains that the institute “has never carried out sexual experiments on children, either during Alfred Kinsey’s time as director or since.”
He has acknowledged, however, that the data on “speed of orgasm” and other details in Tables 31-34 of Kinsey’s 1948 book could only have been collected through illegal activity. In a 1998 paper by Bancroft called “Kinsey and Children,” he says the information “came from the carefully documented records of one man.” Kinsey referred to the man as “Mr. Green,” a pedophile who kept meticulous records of the 800 boys he molested between 1917 and 1948.
Reisman maintains, however, that the 1998 British documentary film “Kinsey’s Paedophiles,” which has never been shown in the U.S., documented that Kinsey solicited information from and directed the data gathering of many pedophiles.
Neeson’s office has contacted the Kinsey Institute to help the actor research Kinsey’s life, according to Indiana University’s Daily Student newspaper. Reisman, author of “Kinsey: Crimes & Consequences,” says the actor’s associates also asked for a copy of the British documentary.
Leonard confirmed that the filmmakers are talking to the Kinsey Institute.
“There is lots of wonderful information they are making available,” she said. “I’m certainly using information from the Kinsey Institute website as background for publicity.”
A source on the movie said: “You wouldn’t expect an actor to play Shakespeare without reading the plays, so Liam can hardly go into this film without absorbing Kinsey’s work,” reported the British tabloid The People. “It’s all part and parcel of the meticulous way Liam likes to approach his work.”
‘Good classical story’
Leonard contended that Reisman and her supporters “have a misconceived idea about who Kinsey was and what he did.”
She says the film will be “a lighthearted look at his life, shown in an entertaining way.”
“He’s a very charismatic figure from American history,” Leonard said.
Rock said the script is “very factually” oriented.
“It’s a very well-written script,” he said. “It shows all the scorn he went through doing some things totally unusual for his time, and now he’s considered the man who inspired the sexual revolution.”
He added: “Even if it were a piece of fiction, it would be a good classical story of a man ahead of his time.”
Condon said in an interview published by E! online last year that he hopes “it’s one of those movies that speaks about things.”
“It does feel like it’s time to remind people of Kinsey’s ideas, which I think are liberating,” Condon said. “I hope there’s an exhilarating feeling you get when you come out of the theater.”
However, Reisman sent an open letter to Neeson last fall, warning him that the film will place him in “a hideously inaccurate role, much like playing the monster Mengele as a mere controversial figure.”
Schlessinger’s website published a letter to Neeson from a woman named Wendy, who wrote: “I believe strongly in the freedom of speech and the freedom of artistic expression, but I don’t believe that anyone has the right to hurt innocent babies and children. All I can ask is that you remain true to yourself and your fans and only do this movie if it tells the whole story. There are evil men in this world and anyone has the right to tell the story about their lives – just tell the whole truth.”
A writer named Julianne said to the actor, “I respect your talent; I’ve always thought you had integrity as an actor; and I was thinking, ‘Man! I’m glad to see that somebody like Neeson is going to expose that old charlatan Kinsey for what he was.’ So – oh, boy – I was more than a little discouraged when I read a little further and realized that what’s motivating your writer/director Bill Condon is his enthusiasm for ‘Kinsey’s liberating ideas.'”
Film’s distributor not determined
Variety magazine, considered the “bible of the entertainment industry,” reported in October that the Kinsey film would be distributed in the U.S. through MGM/United Artists.
However, after receiving many letters inspired by Schlessinger’s campaign, the film company responded with a statement to the Dr. Laura Show that urged its producers to let everyone know “that we aren’t involved with this film in any way.”
Rock told WorldNetDaily, nevertheless, that United Artists has interest in the film, and at one time “we had a deal” to have UA distribute it as part of American Zoetrope’s slate distribution agreement, which encompasses a package of several films.
Eric Kops, MGM’s senior vice president of worldwide publicity, told WND that trade publications, such as Variety, often report on speculation and rumor, and there may have been a discussion about the Kinsey film with UA at some point in time.
A 20th Century Fox subsidiary, Fox Searchlight Pictures, is now talking with American Zoetrope about distributing “Kinsey,” Rock said.
Fox Searchlight showed interest when they found out Neeson and co-star Laura Linney, who will portray Kinsey’s wife, are in the film.
“They must have read the script and said, ‘Let’s do it,'” said Rock.
“So, now we are talking to Fox,” he said. “If we go with Fox, so be it. And if we don’t, we’ll go back to UA.”
Kinsey on stage
A Madison, Wisc., theater beat the movie studios to the punch with a play on Kinsey, which closed this weekend, called “The Man Who Loved Sex.”
Playwright Joel Gersmann, who calls Kinsey a “sexually conflicted and tormented man,” said he is sure that Condon’s film will be little more than a worshipful, dull and humorless bio-pic, the Capitol Times of Madison reported.
Gersmann described Kinsey as a homosexual who did firsthand research on himself, his wife and his assistants, and engaged in sexual relations with his subjects. He also filmed and analyzed live sexual activity.
“His research was based on sex as a human experience rather than what churches, the government or academia deemed it to be,” Gersmann told the Madison paper. “This was a radical idea back then.”
Kinsey grew up in a strict Methodist religious environment, the Capitol Times said, and he reacted against it through his research, which began with the sexual activity of gall wasps. He saw the insect’s diverse range of sexual behavior as an insight into the largely hidden potential of human sexuality.
“Americans were ignorant, anti-intellectual and sentimental – about love,” Gersmann said. “As a social reformer and critic of social manners he was devastating. This was too horrible for many people because religion had such a hold on them.”
Gersmann insisted his play is about the history of America’s intellectual stagnation.
“Kinsey’s point of view,” he said, “was that morality had no value when it comes to laying bare the truth.”