Industry News

Salem Horror Fest Demands ‘LGBTQIA2S+’ Entries from Florida, Texas

Festival seeks to punish red states, inspires discriminatory lawsuit instead

Diversity demands are all the rage in Hollywood.

Next year, any studio hoping to snag a Best Picture Oscar better meet the Academy’s new, extensive list of diversity requirements … or else. Here’s one example, straight from Oscar, Inc: 

The main storyline(s), theme or narrative of the film is centered on an underrepresented group(s).

  • Women
  • Racial or ethnic group
  • LGBTQ+
  • People with cognitive or physical disabilities, or who are deaf or hard of hearing

Inclusion riders are part of today’s entertainment industry, too, and projects like HBO Max’s “Velma” steer into aggressive diversity casting calls for established IPs (intellectual properties).

Now, a small horror festival is taking that push even further and attempting to punish two red states in the process.

The Salem Horror Fest, which celebrates indie shockers, posts its submission rules for the April 20-30 event on its official web site. The festival craves “unique, wild, thought provoking, and socially conscious feature films and shorts.”

One particular requirement, though, is steeped in partisan politics.

*** Please note that we will not be accepting any film submissions from Texas or Florida unless they feature LGBTQIA2S+ content or creators. No exceptions. ***

The demand targets the legislative maneuvers in those red states. Said laws, typically distorted by the press, purportedly inhibit the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

Now, filmmakers who live in Florida and Texas must submit “diverse” horror films or find other festivals.


That didn’t sit well with one filmmaker, who considers himself a staunch critic of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a rising GOP star. Indie film artist Michael Malott, a Florida resident, is suing the festival for discriminatory practices.

Malott’s suit contends that the festival’s policy “is openly violating the federally protected civil rights of filmmakers in two entire states and is doing such in bad faith and in violation of federal statute and law.”

The suit further points to disputes with Kay Lynch, the director of the festival, and a claim that she “launched a personal attack upon (Malott) in an attempt to cause him further harm and duress.”

Lynch told The Salem News the festival’s policy “speaks for itself.”

That trailer, and the film’s official description, suggest the film packs an anti-Trump sentiment.

…three Atlanta Goth kids who cut through rural Florida on their way to the Keys. Camping overnight off road in a secluded woods they are confronted by four good ‘ole Florida rednecks who plan to just harass and intimidate the kids. After a gun accidentally goes off and kills one of the kids, the rednecks must kill the remaining two. But unbeknownst to them that one of the kids is a practicing witch and returns from the grave to enact a brutal revenge.

One ironic element?

Malott features a quote from Lynch on his Bad Clown Films web site. She allegedly said his most recent work, “Bed of Nails,” “triggered a rage I’ve never felt before.”

Michael Malott's BED OF NAILS Official Movie Trailer

The news comes on the heels of Variety’s blistering report on film festivals avoiding “problematic” entrees for fear of Cancel Culture fallout. Plus, the Sundance Film Festival forces audiences to sign a “loyalty oath” demanding they behave a certain way or be banned from future Sundance events.

Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash


  1. This goes back to the 70s folks. Anyone remember Barney Miller? That show was so woke. The cast was diverse. The message of the show was super wokey woke to the wokest of wokeness. Also, notice how Barney had a mustache? I don’t need Hollywood pushing their facial hair agenda on me! It had nothing to do with the story. He just randomly had a mustache.

  2. Has anyone noticed how woke baseball has become. There are a lot of players with beards now. I don’t need some one forcing their beard agenda on me. Nobody cares whether or not you have a beard.

    1. Sean,

      You are so right!! The woke movie wants us to think that the world is made up of different races and cultures. They even want us to eat at Taco Bell. As if that will convince that there are different kinds of food. It’s evil and immoral.

    2. Sean, from your avatar it looks like you have a beard. Stop pushing your woke beard agenda on everyone. It’s too diverse. Also, the glasses are super woke. Alpha males don’t wear glasses. You are definitely not a conservative.

    1. Everyone except the actual audience. The producers and actors certainly were well paid for making movies no one wants to see. Loss leaders. Keep losing.

      1. PP, I am talking about diversity in your own life. Not the movies. Don’t you like having diverse people in your life? People from different backgrounds and religions. Hasn’t it made your life more interesting? Wouldn’t you be bored with a life full of people who were exactly like you?

        As for movies, do you only see films with only white people in them? What is wrong with films that show people of color? They’ve been doing that since the 70s. I’m just wondering how extreme your aversion to a diverse world is.

      2. Do you keep pulling strawmen out of the hat to defend your argument? Diversity is no excuse for making terrible product. Once they can figure out a good Woke movie, then we’ll all enjoy watching it. Nobody wanted to see “She Said” and “Bros” either. Woke diversity isn’t neutral about content. It’s an ideology. Pre-2015 movies had lots of diversity without “the message”.

      3. PP,

        Star Wars is far from dead. Disney Plus has tons of new Star Wars series dripping every 6 months.

        West Side Story did very well. It was nominated for the Oscars.

        And again, woke us a good thing. You are using it as an insult. It just means being awake to other’s. It is a positive thing. The Right has weaponized it.

      4. You are actually right. I forgot about all the new Star Wars movies on Disney+. My apologies. I thought it was dead.

      5. PP,

        I think you are just looking for things to make you angry. I bet you were upset about The Wiz in 70s. You probably think of that as a woke movie. That pesky diversity really gets you upset.

      6. Appears diversity is all about sexuality. Get a load of this article at BoundingIntoComics.
        “ ‘Ironheart’ Star Zoe Terakes Is “Deeply Grateful” Upcoming Marvel Series Will Give “Little Trans Kids And Trans Teens Something To Look At And Know They Exist””
        “ In addition to Terakes, the series will also star Dominique Thorne, reprising her role as the eponymous Ironheart from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and Ru Paul’s Drag Race star Jaren Kyei Merrell – better known by their stage name Shea Couleé .”

        Two transgender actors in a Marvel show. Just perfect.
        And Ironheart replaced Ironman. A black woman take the role of a white man, which isn’t an insignificant race and gender swap. She was also portrayed as a thief who stole the iron suit in the comics so they got racial stereotypes too.

      7. Thanks for posting that, PP. That’s really cool!! Nice to see all that representation in comics.

      8. Yeah!! Just like Milton Bearle when he would dress as a woman back in the 50s. He was forcing cross dressing on society. You think I’m joking but a lot of this started with him. Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie too. That was a super woke movie. It’s unwatchable now.

      9. Did you know Marvel actually has a Spider pig? His name is Spider-Ham. It’s so woke! They are trying to appeal to the oink crowd. They’ve replaced the human Spider-Man with a pig. Don’t get me wrong, I love bacon. I just don’t want it forced down my throat. Marvel was super woke in the 70s when they put out She-Hulk(basically a trans Hulk when you think about it.) and Spiderwoman. That led to this current wokeness.

      10. You are so right, PP! Star Wars is so dead. Apparently Disney+ will be slowly taking down all of their Stars Wars content over the next year. They have been losing so much money from the franchise and it is killing their bottom line. I read that Lightyear and Strange World will be taken down as well. The title Strange World is super woke. It is basically saying the world is not normal anymore and that we should except strangeness.

  3. Don’t worry about the “awards”, these days they are more a badge of shame than anything else. Focus on your fans and the $$$$ you’ll bring in from producing something enjoyable to watch. Let the Wokies all jerk each other off in their sea of failure.

  4. You can’t force gay content into movies that has nothing to do with it. It isn’t about mere representation. It’s about complete gay storylines as quoted above “The main storyline(s), theme or narrative of the film is centered on an underrepresented group(s).”

    So Hollywood will have to decide whether it wants to make money or force creators to make turd. Disney keeps trying to make animated movies with LGBT content (Lightyear, Strange Worlds) and thus, Universal’s Illumination studio takes the box office crown with Minions and Puss n Boots.

    Salem Horror Fest has created a blacklist and thus blacklisted itself. That’s how you lose viewers.

    1. Lightyear and Strange World did poorly at the box office because they are terrible movies not because they have gay characters in them. Puss in Boots is a great film.

      1. That’s actually not true. Did you see any of the movies? Puss in Boots is actually good. Plus, Lightyear only has a lesbian couple giving a quick peck on the cheek. That’s hardly gaying up the film. In fact, I’d be willing to guess you would have missed the kiss if you hadn’t been told it was there. If you blink you would miss it.

      2. Gay characters = Diversity and this became the plot. That’s why the movies are terrible and haven’t found an audience on Disney+ unlike Encanto that later found an audience despite being a failure at the box office too.

      3. That is not true. You haven’t seen the movies or you would know that. You are worried about something based on what you have read either here or Fix News. Their job is to rile you up. Watch Lightyear and you will see it is just a bad movie. The kids in the film is barely noticeable.

      4. PP, I agree with you 100%. The audience rejected Lightyear and Strange World. They just didn’t reject them for the reasons you are suggesting. The films were poorly made. You’re trying to say the reason Lightyear did poorly is because of a gay kiss. Star Wars: The Last Jedi made by Disney had a gay kiss in it. The film was a huge hit and grossed 1.333 billion USD. How did that film do so well?

      5. It was still a failure at the box office. That was the year of the Hispanic musical and they all failed. West Side Story, The Heights, and Encanto all failed. Only Encanto managed to find success on Disney+ so it found a new audience. Probably because it wasn’t that Woke. So no, my argument still stands.

        Lastly, Star Wars is largely dead as a franchise. This is not disputed.

    2. PP,
      Actually, you can force pretty much any content you want into any movie. It’s a free country. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it can’t or shouldn’t be done. Since movies began there have always been people like you objecting to a films content and subject matter.

      1. PP,

        Star Wars is far from dead. Disney Plus has tons of new Star Wars series dripping every 6 months.

        West Side Story did very well. It was nominated for the Oscars.

        And again, woke us a good thing. You are using it as an insult. It just means being awake to other’s. It is a positive thing. The Right has weaponized it.

    3. You are so right. I hate when a movie is diverse. It loses a lot of its entertainment value if I see too many cultures represented. I don’t even like a movie with too many people in it in general. Smaller casts are better. There is less of an agenda that way. When the cast gets larger it is as if Hollywood is forcing me to look at a group of people that all look different. Different hair. Different head shapes. For a long time they were forcing people with blonde hair on us. Even though 1.0 percent of the population has blonde hair.

  5. Loyalty Oaths will be a permanent part of life soon. Along with forced “representation”. Obviously, the Oscars have already started the trend. Just like it’s been for years now, the “winners” of Oscars will be films no one has seen. Bait for the awards but a slow death spiral until the show is no longer on TV, just a streaming event.

    1. Reb,

      I really think you are concerned about something that is really not a big thing. Seems like you are suspicious of others motives. Representation is good. It won’t hurt anyone. It’s all going to be okay.

      1. “Representation is good.” I agree with this. For everyone, regardless of their ethnicity, sex, home state, etc. “It won’t hurt anyone.” Well, that depends on how it’s applied. In this article’s case, the method of application is enforcement as opposed to encouragement. They are two very different things.

    1. Because it’s not natural, its enforced by Hollywood. That’s why you see a huge explosion of alphabet people in all TV & movies. Far greater than their actual number. And minorities shoehorned wherever they can fit them. That’s also why we’ve seen an explosion of trans kids in schools. The media and entertainment are pushing them hard. They are trying to force a hard change in our society by overrepresenting so as to destabilize the West. Destroy the nuclear family, make people unhappy & dependent on the govt/corps. It’s been going on for decades, but the hard push was during the coof as it was an opportunity to accelerate the plan.
      Conspiracies!! 🙂

      1. Reb,
        I don’t think that is true. The world is changing. Hollywood is just reflecting a change in society. Just like all of the changes in the past. Remember how Uhura was one of the first black women on Star Trek back in the 60s? Folks said the same thing you are are saying now back then. None of this new representation will change your life. What it will do though is to help the people who are LGBTQ to feel accepted. And that is a great thing. Isn’t that what we all want for people? Love and acceptance.

      2. Everything you just said sounds like a bunch of liberal talking points. All this change is not organic. It’s a forced agenda. Forced acceptance will not stick. It will only foster resentment. People should be accepted as people, not as identities. No one cares or wants to know about sexual preferences.

      3. WT you are absolutely correct. I don’t need to know some wacko’s strange sex or preference. Be human and that all I want. End the labels which are designed by politicians to divide us and not unite us.

      4. No one is forcing anything. And why would you not care about someone’s sexual identity if they chose to tell you about it? At there very least it is fun and interesting to know about different people. Diversity is pretty cool actually.

      5. If no one cares or wants to know about anyone’s sexual preference than I suggest if you ever get married; don’t tell anyone. Better keep it quiet. Otherwise you are broadcasting your orientation. Everyone will know when they see you holding hands with your spouse.

      6. You’re no conservative first of all. 2nd of all, Uhuru didn’t have to change who she was or pretend she was something she will never be, Diversity literally discriminates against bringing the best on board for whatever it may be so that certain groups can be represented artificially. Diversity is racist and bigoted and should be discouraged.

    2. The NBA is 100% male and 75% Black. If we forced the zNBA to be more diverse and reflect America, it would be 72% White, 13% Black and the rest Latino and Asian. Would basketball be better if that happened?

      1. James, I don’t think anyone is going to force the NBA to be more diverse. You worry too much.

      2. We do need more diversity in the NBA. Not enough white people. Very racist. We also need more hispanics and asians in the NBA. Black should present 6% which is what black males represent in our society today.

      3. I liked the part where, in an effort to gain credibility, you pretended to be a conservative. You guys never seem to get tired of that tactic.

    3. You might not understand the LEFT’s “version” of “diversity”! To them, “diversity” includes everything and everyone except honest, decent, America loving, white people!! Oh, and they’ll toss out any black/hispanic/asian/others who espouse decency and common sense!

      1. That’s not true. The vast majority of people who vote Democrat are white. Therefore the left has not thrown out white people. You or anyone else can be on the left of you’d like to.

    4. Enforcing diversity on others is an abject moral wrong. You aren’t a conservative. You are a liar.

      1. Plenty of conservatives believe in diversity. Me being one of them. Imagine the world if everyone was exactly like you. That would be pretty boring. Sometimes things have to be enforced to move forward. We’d still have segregated schools if no one had enforced getting rid of them.

        Trust me. You will be just fine with a diverse melting pot of a country. In fact, I would harbor to guess you are already doing just fine. I doubt you have been effected negatively by any of the diversity you’ve encountered in your life. Am I wrong? Has a diverse nation held you back somehow?

    5. Diversity as a goal is for stupid people. If you try to do something, you may fail, and the “participation trophy” mentality can’t handle failure. So what do they do? They don’t try to succeed. Instead they dress up their attempts in virtue signaling, so that way, when they inevitably fail, they can get applause for trying to exemplify the secular religion known as Marxism.

      Additionally, diversity values the color of your skin, your sex, your imagined gender, or with whom you prefer to get naked over your qualifications and skills. This is the antithesis of conservatism. If the best surgeons in the world are trans black lesbians, then that’s who I want doing my surgery. Diversity is window dressing for incompetence unless it happens on its own.

    6. When diversity is the number way of judging a film, or book, or company it takes the quality out of everything. This is of course what the Hollywood elites wants because in adds them in their progress of destroying America and the citizens of America.

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