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S.F. Gays Defy Court, March on Movie Location

April 25, 1991|DAVID J. FOX | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN FRANCISCO — Gay activists defied a court order and marched on a movie location in San Francisco on Wednesday night in protest of the negative portrayal of lesbians and women in the controversial Hollywood film, "Basic Instinct."

About 75 members of the activist Queer Nation and ACT UP organizations and other groups, blocked traffic at the downtown Moscone Center, chanting, "Hey, hey, ho ho, homophobia has got to go" and "Hollywood, you stink. . . ." The noise from the chants and whistles was intended to stop the filming of a car chase scene.

The disruption was met by about 100 San Francisco police officers dressed in riot gear, who were ordered to enforce a temporary restraining order issued by a San Francisco judge earlier in the day. There were no arrests.

"Basic Instinct," being produced by Los Angeles-based Carolco, is a sexually-charged murder mystery with a lesbian angle that stars Michael Douglas. The Tri-Star Pictures release is due later this year, or early 1992.

Presiding San Francisco Superior Court Judge John Dearman had issued a temporary restraining order to prevent uncontrolled demonstrations that might interfere with filming.

Carolco attorney Donald Sloan said the company asked for the court order based on "previous difficulties it experienced while shooting the movie in San Francisco and violence directed to the owner of a bar where shooting occurred two weeks ago."

Rachel Lederman, attorney for Queer Nation, could not be reached.

Objections to "Basic Instinct" are based on its depiction of two lesbian characters and one bisexual characters as villains.

"It is yet another movie which makes lesbian and gay characters as villains," said Hollie Conley of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a nationwide media watchdog group. "Hollywood never seems to come up with a realistic depiction of lesbians and gays."

A spokesperson for "Basic Instinct" previously issued a statement saying that the film "does not exploit or stereotype any characters."

On Wednesday afternoon, members of GLAAD, Queer Nation, Community United Against Violence and the National Organization for Women, met with Marshall, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas, director Paul Verhoeven, San Francisco Supervisor Harry Britt and others at the Hyatt Regency.

"We told them that, unless there were substantial changes made in the script, they could expect a lot of grief from this community," Conley said. She said the movie representatives indicated they would give a response by this weekend.

Fox reported from Los Angeles. Freelance correspondent Donna Rosenthal reported from San Francisco.

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