The film ‘Bamboozled’, which was accused of homophobia and transphobia, has won an award at the Tropfest short film festival in Sydney.
Writing in the Guardian, journalist Kate Doak criticises the plot, saying: “Bamboozled starts with Peter being tapped on the shoulder out of the blue by his former partner Harry, who has medically transitioned genders from female to male since they last met 11 years previously. Back then, “Harry” was “Helen”.
“Startled at first, Pete then proceeds to catch up with his former flame, while progressively getting drunk and eventually ending up in bed with Harry later that night. The next morning it quickly becomes apparent that Pete regrets having sex with Harry – however there’s still one twist left to come. Namely, that Harry isn’t really transgender, and that he’s been play-acting for the real Helen, who wants revenge and has contacted a reality TV show to organise the deception.”
In an interview to the Australian Associated Press and the Sydney Morning Herald, Hardie states that he never meant to offend the LGBT community. “All I was intending to do was make a nice short film that was entertaining and had a nice punch at the end.
“All I can say is that I’m not homophobic and I don’t think the film is homophobic. If you disagree with me than we’re just going to have to disagree.
“As I made the film I was expecting that some people would be offended — naturally. Whenever you make anything about a sensitive topic there will always be some people, regardless of context will find it offensive. And I can understand that.”
National Rugby League (NRL) star Ian Roberts, who is now an actor said: “I’m blown away. It’s so embarrassing … it’s so degrading … so transphobic and homophobic.
“Imagine if you’d done this with an Asian person or an Aboriginal person. There’s no punchline there, that’s totally unacceptable. But with the gay community, it’s still OK.
[This year's judges] “got this so wrong. And not only did [they] get this wrong, [they've] actually put the lives of people dealing with their own sexual identity at risk.
“There are kids out there that aren’t dealing with their sexual identity — and things like this can be a tipping point. This is the worst type of film that any kid like that could watch.”
In response, Hardie said that Roberts had “missed the point” and added: “What’s uncomfortable is a heterosexual man going somewhere he’s never thought he would go, and then all of a sudden being on national TV. He’s not uncomfortable because he’s homophobic. He’s uncomfortable because he’s never done it.”