National cinema chain Vue has finally admitted that it was wrong to block the screening of an ‘ex-gay’ film, and settled in full a legal claim brought against them.
The film, called Voices of the Silenced, profiled individuals who questioned their gay identity and successfully moved away from same-sex attraction. It was due to be shown to an invited audience of 120 at the Vue Cinema in Piccadilly in February 2018.
However, following media coverage of the film’s content, Vue abruptly cancelled the booking just the day before the proposed screening, claiming the film might be ‘unlawful’.
In a letter to the organisers of the screening, the cinema said, ‘It has recently come to our attention that the film which was due to be screened does not accord with Vue’s fundamental values and beliefs, would cause serious and widespread offence and may be unlawful’.
Although an alternative venue was eventually found for the screening, the organisers launched legal action against the cinema group, claiming breach of contract and seeking compensation for wasted expenses.
In August, lawyers acting for the cinema group admitted breach of contract and settled the claim in full. In response to the settlement, Dr Mike Davidson, who produced the documentary and is a spokesman for the Core Issues Trust, said ‘freedom of expression’ had won’.
He said, ‘We worked hard to create Voices of the Silenced because we believe that it contains an important message: people can change. This population have been failed by mental health services because they are denied professional counselling respectful of their world view.
‘Vue Cinema has recognised it was wrong to block us from showing the film. I hope in future it won’t fold under pressure from activists who want to suppress the voices of those who want to move away from same-sex attraction and behaviour’.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which supported Dr Davidson, commented, ‘People like Dr Davidson need to be heard in the current debate on sexuality and gender.
‘LGBT activists shouldn’t be allowed to define or deny other people’s life experiences. I hope the government starts to listen to the voices of people like him before pursuing any attacks on the freedom of people with same-sex attraction to seek change’.