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Gene Shalit's
Brokeback Mountain review angers gay rights
group

Gene Shalit's
Brokeback Mountain review angers gay rights
group

Shalit

In a bizarre review, the critic deemed Jake Gyllenhaal's character, Jack, a "sexual predator" who "tracks Ennis down and coaxes him into sporadic trysts."

Gene Shalit--the 31-year veteran movie critic of NBC's Today show--came under fire Thursday by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation for his review of Brokeback Mountain. GLAAD says that Shalit "used the occasion to promote defamatory antigay prejudice to a national audience." In a bizarre piece of commentary for the "Critic's Corner," Shalit deemed Jake Gyllenhaal's character, Jack, a "sexual predator" who "tracks Ennis down and coaxes him into sporadic trysts." The "characterization of Jack as a 'predator' and Ennis (Heath Ledger) as a victim reflects a fundamental lack of understanding about the central relationship in the film and about gay relationships in general," GLAAD said in a statement. "It seems highly doubtful that Shalit would similarly claim that Titanic's Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) was a 'sexual predator' because he was pursuing a romantic relationship with Rose (Kate Winslet)." Shalit did praise Ledger's performance and said the movie does have a few dramatic peaks, but he added that the film was "wildly overpraised, but not by me." The GLAAD statement added that "Shalit has every right as a film critic to criticize Brokeback Mountain. But his baseless branding of Jack as a 'sexual predator' merely because he is romantically interested in someone of the same sex is defamatory, ignorant, and irresponsible. And it is equally irresponsible for NBC News to have given Shalit a platform for his gratuitously offensive comments."

Shalit, whose adult son Peter, a physician, is gay, could not be reached for comment. An e-mail from an NBC publicist stated only, "Sorry, Mr Shalit does not do interviews about his reviews." Shalit did comment on his son's coming-out in a 1997 Viewpoint article published in The Advocate, which is now posted on Advocate.com. To see the video of Shalit's review, go to GLAAD's Web site at www.glaad.org and follow the links. (Advocate.com)

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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