Melbourne Underground Film Festival (MUFF) director Richard Wolstencroft has refused to step down following calls for his resignation for a homophobic rant about marriage equality.
Wolstencroft was widely condemned last year for calling the postal survey results announcement a “horrible black day of infamy”.
“Homosexuality is created often through child abuse and it has been embraced by the Majority of Australians as normal.”
When his comments were passed around on Twitter many called for the festival to be fully boycotted.
Many in Australia’s film community had already strenuously avoided the festival for years given, among other things, his planning Nazi-themed dress up nights and programming a talk by a Holocaust denier.
Though Wolstencroft apologised for his comments around marriage equality and suggested he would resign at the time, he has recently stated his intention to remain at the festival’s helm, Junkee reported.
“I run the festival. How am I going to be pushed from a festival that I run?” he said on the podcast Meat Bone Express.
“I decided to make the film festival a radical free speech event. I can say anything I want,” Wolstencroft said.
“I can be as racist, homophobic, psychopathic as I wish to be. I’m tired of political correctness.”
IMPORTANT – FILM FRIENDS PLS READ. This post was made by the founder and festival director of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival. After reading this, I will, of course, no longer be supporting MUFF. I strongly encourage all of you to join me. Please spread the word. pic.twitter.com/KHYZouJgRh
— Alanah Parkin 🏳️🌈 (@AlanahParkin) November 16, 2017
“This whole atmosphere of left PC SJW thought policing is most unhealthy and totalitarian. If people do not like or approve of this, please do not enter or attend – we don’t want you,” he told Junkee.
“MUFF is going to continue with me as festival director – my apology stands as the comment was unwise. The controversy has caused a flood of MUFF entries – it’s our biggest year for entries so far, by far.”
The festival’s website states an intention to “continue our one eyed Nationalist policy” in terms of its programming and support of both guerilla filmmaking and guerilla use of the shift key.
MUFF last year screened both anti-feminist and anti-vaccination documentaries, and was at the centre of a public censorship battle in 2011 over screening Bruce LaBruce’s L.A. Zombie, which led to Wolstencroft being fined.
Like other underground film festivals in Australia, MUFF had previously programmed queer films like LaBruce’s The Raspberry Reich and attempted to screen Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, which was banned outright in Australia between 1976 and 2010.