Gay rental service pushes envelope

Chris Azzopardi
By | 2018-01-16T09:50:04-04:00 December 14th, 2006|Entertainment|

With mega-media conglomerates controlling programming, there’s a minimal presence of LGBT film on television.
Sure, there’s always the convenience of Netflix. But their gay and lesbian section is limited. As far as uncensored LGBT media, gay people are left with, well, not much.
“I felt there was an opportunity here to move further in the world of creating GLBT-issued programming without the heaviness of the network breathing down your neck,” said John Scagliotti, the brainchild behind “For years, we in the producing community have been told that just being gay is radical enough. But there are great things that the GLBT community is doing that can’t be shown on PBS or basic cable as it would seem to be too political, too religious or too sexual.” allows grass-roots filmmakers to put their films first and get something out of it, too. Those who sign up for the service aren’t throwing their money into a cash cow media site; they’re giving money to additional programming.
“We want to get more of our members’ rental fees back into the producer’s hands,” Scagliotti said. “Enough already with the huge executive salaries, fancy office overheads and big advertising budgets.”
Even Logo, which mass-media group Viacom owns, has to cater to advertisers, which means the gay station has to include programming with a “conservative bend,” Scagliotti noted.
“It’s a big, big company with all kinds of rules and regulations for doing programming that (make) independent free thinking producers … dance around all their rules,” he said. “If you want to do that dance, then do it. I’ve been doing somewhat of that dance for 35 years and I have done it pretty well. But it is time to move forward.”
Scagliotti knows plenty about censorship. While producing for PBS, he cringed at the thought of pulling sex and violence from a storyline that suffered without it.
“I had to cut out some great religious comments from ‘Before Stonewall’ as to not offend the southern stations in the PBS network,” he said. “That is why I am excited about the GoGayDVD model. There’s a lot more being censored about the GLBT community besides sexual images in our TV public affairs reporting.”
Scagliotti, the director of “Before Stonewall” and “After Stonewall,” hopes to release “The No Censors Here Show,” a collection of stories from producers countrywide. Programming will start small and as more members join and ideas are formulated, Scagliotti hopes to produce a prequel to “Before Stonewall” called “Before Homosexuals.”
“We’ll have some fun and our members will be part of a system that keeps those hard working producers making programs that speak truth to power,” he said.
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About the Author:

Chris Azzopardi
As editor of Q Syndicate, the international LGBTQ wire service, Chris Azzopardi has interviewed a multitude of superstars, including Cher, Meryl Streep, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé. His work has also appeared in GQ, Vanity Fair and Billboard. Reach him via Twitter @chrisazzopardi.