Movie Boycott Group Cries Racism

John W. Barry, Poughkeepsie Journal (NY), Jan. 4

As a boycott of local cinemas enters a new phase and organizers maintain charges of racism, the owner of the theaters says the activism actually spurred sales.

Steve Greenfield of New Paltz is co-chairman of a group that last month launched a boycott of Roosevelt Cinemas in Hyde Park, Lyceum Six in Red Hook and New Paltz Cinemas. On Friday, Greenfield’s group handed out fliers at New Paltz Cinemas that read, “Don’t Sponsor Hate: This Theater is Under Boycott.” Plans call for more leaflets to be handed out, next time in Dutchess County.

Greenfield, who heads a coalition of organizations and individuals called the New Paltz Green Action Committee, said theater owner Al Bulay can show any movie he likes, but he must respect the marketplace by opening his screens up to differing points of view.

The boycott was spurred by a radio ad taken out by Bulay on WGHQ (920 AM) in Kingston that slammed filmmaker Michael Moore and praised the values associated with the late actors John Wayne, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Stewart.

“I hope we can do it again next Christmas,” Bulay said Monday of the boycott. “It’s been very good for sales.”

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A press release issued last month that called for the boycott said Bulay’s ad on WGHQ was “blatantly racist.”

“ . . . It is especially offensive that the theaters’ management recalls John Wayne movies as the paragon of ‘family film fare,’ ” the press release said. “John Wayne starred in over 100 of the most violent films ever made, including dozens in which Native Americans and Mexicans were portrayed as dangerous savages created specifically for remorseless sport hunting by white settlers and armies.”

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