Wal-Mart won’t quit on Brokeback

Ross von Metzke | April 12, 2006

HOLLYWOOD — Despite large scale protests from right wing organizations of the American Family Association, notoriously down home and conservative discount retailer Wal-Mart has announced it won’t be pulling Brokeback Mountain from shelves anytime soon.

The Academy Award Winner for Best Director was released on DVD amid questions as to whether or not Wal-Mart, which has shied away from controversy in the past, would indeed sell the film.

But gay rights groups are singing Wal-Mart’s praises this week. Not only will they sell Brokeback Mountain – still shots of stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal will be prominently displayed throughout the store.

The AFA is predictably outraged.

“It wasn't even a blockbuster movie, so if Wal-Mart isn't trying to push an agenda, why would they put it at the front door?” Randy Sharp, director of special projects for the association, told the Los Angeles Times.

The Tupelo, Mississippi based AFA has launched an Internet campaign against Wal-mart, accusing the chain of pushing a pro-gay agenda.

The organization posted a message on its Website asking “concerned Christians to let their local Wal-Mart managers know how they feel and that they are not pleased over the chain's decision to promote and carry the pro-homosexual movie.”

“Wal-Mart is trying to help normalize homosexuality in society," Sharp said. "But how many copies are they going to have to sell to recruit the losses of customers who they've offended and will no longer shop at Wal-Mart?”

A spokesman for Wal-Mart disagreed, telling the Associated Press stocking Brokeback is good for business. “Wal-Mart provides movie selections in our stores and online, recognizing that a broad segment of our customer base wants to buy the latest titles,” Jolanda Stewart said in a statement. “We serve a broad customer base and therefore offer an expansive assortment of movie titles to meet the needs of the diverse consumers that shop our stores.”

Domestically, Brokeback has pulled in more than $80 million, nearly ten times its budget, and industry insiders expect it to do bang-up business on DVD, according to reports from E! Online.

Previously, Wal-Mart has refused to carry the George Carlin written political satire, When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?, and last year canceled special orders for Daily Show host John Stewart’s America. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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