Roland Emmerich Responds To Claims That “Stonewall” Whitewashes Gay History

"When the film...finally comes to theaters, audiences will see that it deeply honors the real-life activists who were there."

In the days since the trailer for Roland Emmerich’s historical drama Stonewall was released, a furor has been raised that the Independence Day director erased the importance of trans women like Marsha P. Johnson and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy in the birth of gay rights in order to focus on a handsome, white cisgender protagonist.

Stonewall Riots, June 28, 1969 (2)

With activists calling for a boycott, Emmerich addressed the controvery in a Facebook post.

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“I understand that following the release of our trailer there have been initial concerns about how this character’s involvement is portrayed,” he wrote.

Related: Backlash Against “Stonewall” Leads To Interest In “Happy Birthday, Marsha!”

“But when this film — which is truly a labor of love for me — finally comes to theaters, audiences will see that it deeply honors the real-life activists who were there — including Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Ray Castro — and all the brave people who sparked the civil rights movement which continues to this day. We are all the same in our struggle for acceptance.”

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He insists his movie is not a be-all, end-all documentary, but an entry point for a pivotal time in history.

“The courageous actions of everyone who fought against injustice in 1969 inspired me to tell a compelling, fictionalized drama of those days centering on homeless LGBT youth, specifically a young Midwestern gay man who is kicked out of his home for his sexuality and comes to New York, befriending the people who are actively involved in the events leading up to the riots and the riots themselves.”

Read Emmerich’s full statement here.

Stonewall arrives in theaters September 25.

h/t: Hollywood Reporter

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.