Earlier this month a former, part-time writer of movie reviews for this paper, Michael Calleri, published a private email I wrote.
That email was critical of Hollywood and its depiction of women and men.
After publication of my private email, I got a lot of aggressive hate mail (and, later, once the dust settled, quite a bit of support from those who agreed with me).
I answered what I might call “the hysterical left” and their objections to my email in an article that appeared in last week’s paper. I publicly stood by what was essentially a private communication from one man to another.
Partly because of the profanity-laced emails I received, I became more certain I was right about Hollywood. I began to secretly enjoy opening up my email to see what new invectives angry lefties, who never met me and judged me by an email I never intended to publish, could think to say about me.
I rather suspected that if these folks had the higher ground, as they were so rudely telling me they had, they would have had sympathy for an erring soul and tried to correct me with their superior wisdom. Who ever fails to be educated with wisdom, kindness and genuine love? If one is patient, those three almost always instruct even the most foolish erring man. I waited for even one email that suggested, in words of kindness, why they might be right and I wrong.
But none ever came.
It seems the spate of hate mail was not about trying to instruct an erring man, but rather an attempt to bully me into silence. Some went so far as to write my advertisers, demanding they stop advertising with me.
My private and not-intended-for-publication email struck a chord alright.
“If the whole world stands against you sword in hand, would you still dare to do what you think is right?” that’s the motto I try to live by.
And I don’t care what anybody thinks of that. I obey the rule of my own conscience and never grant any one or group the right to stand in judgment of me.
Now here is how it struck me, the airing of my private email by another man.
Keep in mind this was not an email of an employer to an employee, as some have thought. My relationship with Calleri was not one where I held power over his daily bread. Before I took over at the Reporter, Calleri was paid $25 per week for his weekly column. As soon as I took over, weeks before I wrote him the email he published, I told him I was no longer interested in paying for Hollywood reviews. He said he would continue to submit his columns for free because being a published reviewer allowed him free access to movie theaters.
So you understand, this was not an economic survival issue but an email between two men about issues that involved their own beliefs.
Apropos of that, here is mine: A man, and that’s a big word M-A-N, would not take another man’s private email and publish it.
That said, a man does not complain about having it done either.
A man doesn’t worry about what little guys try to do to him to rise in the world. It is not how you arrive, it is how you exit that counts.
Still, people criticized Calleri for publishing my private email, making him out as an untrustworthy, unprincipled person. After all, who has not written an email that one would not like to see published?
When I was asked how I felt about his airing my email by Laura Kane, a reporter for the Toronto Star, I said I didn’t care.
And I don’t.
If Calleri felt he had an agenda to promote and he needed my private email along with his commentary to further his goal of trying to discredit me and make himself look like a champion of women’s rights, that was his right. I don’t condemn him and, though we don’t agree on Hollywood movies, I wish him well.
I told Calleri in my original email that I was probably not the right publisher for his work. I hope he finds one well suited for what he hopes to publish and share with the world.
For my part, as a publisher of words and images, it is my choice to publish what I believe is best for my publication and that does not include reviews of perverse Hollywood movies.
That, like it or not, is freedom of the press. You are equally free to read or not read my publication.
Best of luck to all of you.
Publisher axes film reviews over 'degenerate' Snow White
(The Toronto Star is Canada's highest-circulation newspaper, based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Reporter is reprinting the following Toronto Star article in its entirety because it represents to us a model of fair and balanced reporting. It neither favors one side nor the other, reports the facts and accurately captures the spirit of the controversy. The headline above is from the print edition. The article was published Friday November 23, 2012.)
By Laura Kane
Movies with fierce female heroines might be booming at the box office, but a Niagara Falls, N.Y., publisher doesn’t care to see them in his newspaper.
Frank Parlato, editor and publisher of the weekly Niagara Falls Reporter, is at the centre of controversy after a freelance film critic said his reviews were turfed from the paper because they glorified movies with strong female leads.
The critic’s charges were published by Roger Ebert on the Chicago Sun-Times website, along with an email written by Parlato in which he refuses to publish “reviews of films where women are alpha and men are beta.”
Michael Calleri, a long-time reviewer for the paper, had written to Parlato to find out why his recent reviews were not being published, including one of Snow White and the Huntsman, a twist on the classic fairy tale that has a sword-wielding Snow White lead an army into battle.
Parlato replied the film promoted “the Hollywood agenda of glorifying degenerate power women and promoting as natural the weakling, hyena -like men, cum eunuchs.”
He encourages Calleri to seek another publisher or to write reviews “where men act like good strong men and have a heroic inspiring influence on young people to build up their character.” He adds: “I am not interested in supporting the reversing of traditional gender roles.”
Calleri’s lengthy screed, clocking in at 3,200 words, is mostly a personal diatribe against Parlato and his leadership of the Niagara Falls Reporter. The movie critic writes that the publisher’s “villainous treatment of strong women, is so appalling, that it borders on being unbelievable” and notes that he has already found a new gig, writing for Buffalo-based WNYMedia.net.
The post has exploded across the blogosphere and led feminist website Jezebel to call the email “a sublime voyage through one man’s inveterate misogyny.”
Parlato swung back with a scathing editorial in which he stood by his email and his right to publish whatever he likes.
“I might remind the reader that the email does not say I would not consider reviews of films where men and women are both shown in an inspiring light. I am simply not interested in films that demean men, or men of a particular race. I am also equally uninterested in publishing reviews of films that demean women,” he wrote.
In an interview with the Star, Parlato repeated that he did not support “gender-bashing” of either sex.
“I’m in favour of strong men and strong women. I don’t think that they have to be in competition or one has to be belittled in order to elevate the other,” he said.
Parlato declined to name an example of a film that portrayed women as superior to men, saying that he simply wasn’t interested in Hollywood films.
“It is the right of Hollywood to market promiscuous sex, violence and profanity, not only to adults but to adolescents,” he said. “I operate a small newspaper in Niagara Falls and it is my right not to review Hollywood movies.”
Parlato purchased the Niagara Falls Reporter less than a year ago from founding editor Mike Hudson. The paper is a free weekly and has a reported circulation of about 22,000.
In July, the paper made national headlines for a sports column decrying the NHL for “endorsing homosexuality” by supporting the “You Can Play” campaign. Parlato stood by the article in an editorial.
Roger Ebert has not commented on the controversy and could not be reached for comment Thursday.