Actress Melissa McCarthy has been promoting various charities as part of a promotional tour for her newest film Superintelligence. With HBO Max chipping in $20,000 per charity — for 20 days — this was bound to get positive press.
That is, until one of those charities, unbeknownst to McCarthy, was an anti-abortion and ostensibly anti-LGBTQ group called Exodus Cry.
The Daily Beast published a piece last week pointing out some of the group’s problems:
… HBO Max plans to donate $20,000 to a conservative evangelical organization — whose founder has called abortion a “holocaust” and homosexuality “an unspeakable offense to God” — that is dedicated to abolishing the commercial sex industry.
… [Exodus Cry] presents itself as an anti-sex-trafficking organization, but, per the mission statement laid out in their 2018 tax returns, ultimately aims to abolish sex work entirely. The nonprofit emerged out of the far-right conservative church the International House of Prayer (their acronym is indeed IHOP), whose founder, one-time Ted Cruz endorser Mike Bickle, has claimed that “gay people would face “flaming missiles of the Evil One” and that Adolf Hitler was a “hunter” sent by God to punish the Jews.
That’s… bad. Very bad. Certainly not the kind of charity that deserves to be rewarded by Hollywood in an attempt to generate positive headlines.
Fans called out McCarthy for including the organization, and she gracefully responded in an Instagram video over the weekend:
(Politicians and pastors should take note on including that kind of humility in their apologies.)
That should have been the end of the story, but now, Exodus Cry is, well, crying about it. They claim all the backlash is the result of “misinformation” about what they really stand for:
Exodus Cry pushed back on the idea that it “campaigns against women’s rights,” arguing that it has instead advocated “for the rights of women not to be exploited for sex.” The blog acknowledged that “Exodus Cry’s CEO has expressed his personal views that he believes in the protection of life in the womb” while maintaining that “Exodus Cry has never taken any position on those issues” and highlighting partnerships with “organizations that are both for and against abortion.”
It also worked to dispel the idea that “Exodus Cry is an anti-LGBTQ+ organization.”
Citing a “single public comment made by Exodus Cry’s founder on his personal social media account a decade ago regarding his personal political opinion about the issue of marriage equality” as the basis for the characterization of the organization as “anti-LGBTQ+,” the blog featured a quote from founder Benjamin Nolot.
Nolot did not say he supports marriage equality or abortion rights. There’s nothing about the group’s connection with the conservative IHOP ministry. They are obviously entitled to all of those views. People can choose whether or not to donate to them. But it’s hardly surprising for a Hollywood studio to rescind a donation to them upon learning more information.
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