Poison (film)

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Date: 1991

Region: North America

Subject: Sexual/Gender Orientation

Medium: Film Video


DVD cover


Artist: Todd Haynes

Confronting Bodies: Rev. Donald E. Wildmon, American Family Association

Dates of Action: 1991

Location: United States

Description of Artwork: The film interweaves three narratives that explore the nature of violence, or poison, in society. One story, Homo, is set in the 1940's and was inspired by the writings of Jean Genet.

The Incident: Rev. Donald E. Wildmon charged the NEA with supporting a film with "explicit porno scenes of homosexuals involved in anal sex." Wildmon admitted when questioned later that he had drawn his conclusions from a review and had not scene any portion of the movie, Poison. Around the country conservative groups protested at theaters when the movie opened.

Results of Incident: John E. Frohnmayer of the NEA responded to Wildmon with heavy support and justification for Poison. The Film received a Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and was very successful in the theaters.

Source: Committee For Artists' Rights Archive