Joe Deluca, KSL-TV
Larry H. Miller pushes away a microphone after being asked why he pulled the film from theaters.

Visibly upset, Larry H. Miller pawed a KSL Radio reporter's microphone Monday, shoving it out of the way and saying: "I said everything I had to say when I, when I, pulled the movie, OK."

Miller used the Bible phrase "tinkling cymbal" to describe the international media attention focused on his last minute decision to pull "Brokeback Mountain" from his movie theaters.

After remaining silent for days, the Utah Jazz owner finally spoke up following the Salt Lake Branch NAACP's Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Luncheon, when he said the criticism he's received is akin to empty noise.

"I see the attention I'm getting is a lot more positive than negative," Miller told the Deseret Morning News. "Those on the negative are from outside."

Minutes after the aggressive incident with the reporter, Edward Lewis Jr., president of the NAACP Utah-Nevada-Idaho Tri-State Conference, praised Miller, who attended the luncheon to present a $1,000 scholarship, something Miller's done for the last 12 years.

Miller said afterward, that in general, "I never like upsetting people. I may not agree with their principles, they may not agree with mine."

The movie about a love affair between two gay cowboys has been lauded as a breakthrough love story and won four Golden Globes Monday night at the 63rd annual ceremony, including best drama. It led the field, dominating with seven nominations. It also won in the categories best screenplay, best director and best original song.

"I think this has been an amazing year for American cinema," said director Ang Lee in his acceptance speech.

Miller's decision not to show it has brought praise from many in Utah, but it has also brought criticism. The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Utah issued an action alert last week urging people to avoid Miller's businesses.

At the luncheon, Miller stressed the importance of working toward equality and of recognizing youth for their achievements.

"It is really neat to me to see people as young as they are developing a social conscience," Miller said, referencing the young winners of an essay contest announced during the banquet. "It's not just the bad kids you see on TV at night shooting each other," he said. "There are lots of good things."

In his remarks, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff defended Miller against the criticism, saying "we know him as one of the most generous, charitable men in the state of Utah."

He noted that Miller donates to organizations such as the NAACP, Boys and Girls Clubs, and had recently donated his theater for a youth mentoring program fund-raiser.


Contributing: Amelia Nielson-Stowell

E-mail: [email protected]