Sunday, December 06, 2009

Uganda's Hollywood Consul =
Christian Movie Producer?

(Cody Crouch, left, with his father Matthew Crouch, on March 24, 2009, at the premiere of Matthew's new film, "The Cross.")

This Thursday, December 10, is Human Rights Day, and gays in London and San Francisco will be staging solidarity actions on behalf of gay Ugandans, and I'll soon post details on the upcoming protests. Meanwhile, allow me to educate you about the Kampala government's arm reaching all the way to Hollywood, strange as that first seemed when I started doing research on the country's reps in America.

Ugandan politicians and religious leaders, with great assistance from homo-hating American Christians, are pushing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, a law that calls for the death penalty for "repeat offenders" and many other draconian punishments. Much international organizing has been taking place over the plight of gay Ugandans, and many mainstream news outlets and progressive bloggers are scrutinizing the coalition of haters pushing the proposed law.

I checked the web site for the embassy in DC, to see if there is an honorary consul in San Francisco, one activists could pressure, and while there isn't a consul up here, there is one based in Los Angeles. His name is Matthew Crouch, an American Christian business leader producing movies and other entertainment, and he's in need of sunshining.

According to his Wiki entry, Crouch was appointed by the Ugandan government in September 2007, is the son of Paul and Jan Crouch who founded the mega-successful Trinity Broadcasting Network, and has produced many Christian-themed documentaries and feature films.

Let me digress for a moment to mention that Paul Crouch was sued by a former male employee over allegations of sexual relations in 1998. The employee agreed to a settlement of $425,000 to drop a lawsuit, according to published reports, showing there are gay skeletons in the family closet.

Back to consul Matthew Crouch and his business dealings, which were the subject of an extensive October 2006 profile in the Los Angeles Times. The portrait painted quite an interesting, sometimes unsavory, picture of the Ugandan honorary diplomat before he entered the world of global politics:

In many ways, Crouch and his company, Gener8Xion Entertainment, are Hollywood anomalies. He hasn't had to look further than his parents — with their tax-free donor base and worldwide television reach — to bankroll and market his movies. In other ways, the stereotype of a Hollywood producer fits snugly. Friends and foes describe him, by turns, as charismatic, arrogant, charming, ruthless, visionary and greedy. [...]

Associates also say that Crouch's impulsiveness — and perhaps a desire to escape his father's long shadow — has prompted him to take shortcuts that have led to risky decisions. During the production of "Omega Code," his key personnel included a former adult-film actor and a novice screenwriter who was arrested and convicted of soliciting a child for sex.

But when did Crouch's relationship begin with the Ugandan government and for what purposes? The answers come from an October 2005 news release on President Yoweri Museveni's web site:

The exhibition was also meant to give an opportunity to an American television crew from Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) that is currently in Uganda to document the achievements. [...]

The President saluted TBN and Mr. Matthew Crouch for volunteering to publicise the achievements of Uganda. He invited them to establish a filming industry in Uganda and assured them that government would support them. [...]

Mr. Matthew Crouch, who is leading the TBN filming crew reported that most of the achievements of Uganda are not sufficiently publicised internationally and said “that is why it is associated with the Amin dictatorship, the HIV/AIDS scourge and other negative attributes”.

I can't locate any online references quoting Crouch on Uganda's Anti-Homosexual Bill, but I did find two Tweets from him back in the spring, about his trip to the country. From Crouch's Twitter account:

@MC8X at nashville airport flying to Dallas. Leaving for Uganda Africa on tues. Scheduled to meet with President Museveni while there! 1:49 PM May 30th from Tweetie

@MC8X wow! Couldn't tweet from Uganda. Back from Africa a few hours ago. Was at a pastors conference with 10,000 people/leaders in Africa! 9:52 PM Jun 11th from Tweetie

In the coming days, I hope Matthew Crouch replies to my email asking him for communication about these issues, and that more media and blogger attention is focused on his role in this international gay crisis.

By the way, the Ugandans list their LA consul's address as Gener8xion Entertainment, 7095 Hollywood Blvd, Suite 1260, Los Angeles, CA 90068.

I don't know if this is a mail box rental business address, or if there is an actual office there for Crouch. If there is a real office, might be a good location for a picket on Thursday, December 10, the day solidarity actions occur in San Francisco and London.

1 comment:

Zoe Nicholson said...

Matthew Wendall Crouch
US Uganda Consul, Los Angeles
7095 Hollywood Blvd 1260
Los Angeles, CA 90068

Dear Mr. Matthew Crouch,

I am sending this letter as an “open letter,” because I have not been able to contact you privately. I found your name by googling the Uganda Consulate. I called the office in Washington DC and they confirmed your posted address and phone. I mention all of this, as I want to be entirely up front.

I am an LGBT Civil Rights activist. Along with President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rep Tammy Baldwin and Rep Howard Berman in publicly repudiating Uganda’s criminalization of homosexuality and, in particular, the extreme Uganda Bill #18’s call for life in prison or, possibly, death; I am greatly disturbed by this repugnant law, cultural sensibility and vicious oppression of Ugandan gay and lesbian people.

I would like to know your position, as the Uganda US Consul. It is important for the public to know your position. There is so much cause for alarm; your trip to Uganda last summer, your parents (Jan & Paul Crouch’s Trinity Broadcasting Network’s participation in advising Uganda on the evils of homosexuality), your religious film production company, GenerX8ion all point to a clear intersection to Uganda and US ministers conferring on homosexual genocide.

I am not the first person who has tried to contact you. Michael Petrelis has also written and made inquiry. Let me open this door widely for you. I am truly hoping that you speak proudly and publicly against the Ugandan treatment of homosexuals. I would be proud to stand with you at any of the protests on Feb 19th, 2010 to demonstrate our solidarity with LBGT people around the world. You may know that Feb 19th has been designated in Uganda as a National Day in support of Uganda Bill #18, called for by Minister Martin Ssempa. Should you want to call a press conference you would be able to say you are in agreement with President Obama, SOS Clinton and House Resolution 1064, which has more than three dozen sponsors including Representatives Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Barbara Lee.

We look forward to your statement, as US Consul to Uganda.
I would be honored to post it on my site and distribute as widely as I have this request.

Zoe Ann Nicholson
3419 via Lido
Newport Beach, CA 92663

cc US Uganda Consulate Washington
Office of the Secretary of State
Representative Howard Berman
Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission (via Rep Tammy Bladwin)
Truth Wins Out
Box Turtle Bulletin