Roland Emmerich hits back at Stonewall whitewashing criticisms, claims it was "white event"

'We just got killed by one voice on the internet who saw a trailer and said, this is whitewashing Stonewall'

Director Roland Emmerich has refuted claims of whitewashing in Stonewall, the dramatisation of the historic 1969 LGBT riots.

Criticism centered around its focus on a white protagonist (Jeremy Irvine); who is ascribed as having thrown the first brick at the protests, though the identity of this person has actually been highly contested by historians and LGBT activists, and many of the leading figures in the riots were drag queens and transwomen of colour.

Others argue the film does feature a well-represented and diverse cast of LGBT characters, and does not omit the likes of crucial figures such as Marsha P. Johnson. However, a recent interview with the Guardian doesn't appear to put Emmerich's claims of diversity within his film in a particularly favourable light.

"My movie was exactly what they said it wasn’t," he initially stated. "It was politically correct. It had black, transgender people in there. We just got killed by one voice on the internet who saw a trailer and said, this is whitewashing Stonewall."

Indeed, the film's trailer - which featured the first brick being thrown - incensed many LGBT rights groups into calling a boycott on the film; which may go some way to explain how Stonewall became such a massive blockbuster failure, raking in only $187,674 worldwide.

Yet, Emmerich followed the statement up with, "Stonewall was a white event, let’s be honest. But nobody wanted to hear that any more." It should be clarified here that both reports and photographs of the event clarify that many individuals of colour took part in the riot.

Stonewall named gay monument

Emmerich, who is openly gay, was promoting his latest film, the blockbuster sequel Independence Day: Resurgence; a film notable for its inclusion of a gay couple. When asked whether he envisioned casting an LGBT protagonist in a future action blockbuster he replied, "It’s time for it. It would be very interesting to see if the studios go for it."

"You have to write a script they all want to have. I do this a lot. I write these movies myself, I finance them myself and then I send them to every studio at once. We call this an auction. We give them a budget and I will direct it."


"It’s pretty clear what these films are and, naturally, there are always two or three studios who need tentpole movies, so they bid for it and you get quite amazing freedom to make these movies exactly [how] you want. That’s what has to happen for a movie like that. And if one is successful then it’s not a taboo anymore."

Independence Day: Resurgence is in UK cinemas now.

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