Hating Peter Tatchell
Writer, Director CHRISTOPER AMOS
Producer VERONICA FURY
Starring IAN MCKELLEN, STEPHEN FRY
Executive Producers ELTON JOHN & DAVID FURNISH
The profound life story of the controversial human rights campaigner whose provocative acts of civil disobedience rocked the British establishment revolutionised attitudes to homosexuality and exposed tyrants in the fight for equality.
This is a true story of how one man’s protest helped change society. Born into a violent, poverty-stricken, God-fearing family in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, Peter Tatchell moved to London as a young man and channeled many of his adverse childhood experiences into a lifelong fight against tyranny, inequality, and injustice. Vilified by the British press and regularly bashed for his endeavors, Hating Peter Tatchell explores what has driven the controversial human rights campaigner to risk his life again and again by staging more than three thousand provocative acts of civil disobedience.
In an intimate interview with Peter, celebrated film actor and fellow gay rights activist, Ian McKellen, probes what has inspired, motivated, and fuelled Peter Tatchell’s six-decade assault on the prejudices of the British establishment and his long career fighting injustices across the globe.
Peter’s journey begins in the anti-Vietnam War movement when he is just a teenager. To avoid compulsory conscription in what he believes is an unjust war, he sails from Australia to London and falls in with the Gay Liberation Front, helping to organise the UK’s first gay pride parade.
Looking to shake up the establishment, in the early 1980s, Peter makes a move into the political mainstream by standing as a Labour candidate in the Bermondsey by-election. He finds himself embroiled in one of the most vicious and notoriously homophobic smear campaigns in British electoral history. When he loses the election, Peter vows to never play by the rules again. He’s tried playing by the rules. Now he’s going to break them.
Abandoning traditional politics, Peter diverts his energies into the radical non-violent gay rights direct action group OutRage! and takes the fight for equality to the very pillars of the British establishment. Using provocative stunts, wicked humour, and theatrical forms of protest, OutRage! lives up to its name by confronting everyone from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Experiencing the full wrath of the church, state, and media, Peter is dubbed ‘the most hated man in Britain’. Unbowed and defiant, he ups the ante by attempting a citizen’s arrest on Zimbabwean tyrant Robert Mugabe and by shirtfronting homophobic trash-talking heavyweight boxing champion of the world Mike Tyson.
As social attitudes change and history vindicates Peter’s stance on gay rights, his David versus Goliath battles gradually win him first grudging approval and then status as a national treasure. Now Peter is embarking on his riskiest crusade yet as he seeks to stage a protest at the FIFA World Cup in Moscow to draw attention to the persecution of LGBT+ people in Russia and Chechnya. All he has to do is not get killed, bashed, imprisoned, or ‘disappeared’ by Putin’s goons, the might of the Russian security state, and roving gangs of Neo-Nazis. What could possibly go wrong?
From Executive Producers Elton John and David Furnish, Hating Peter Tatchell is the profound true story of one of the world’s most influential human rights activists. This film explores the motivations and consequences of Peter's direct action campaigning and the personal sacrifice that comes with this line of work, including violent attacks and threats to kill him.
Told through previously unseen footage of Peter’s activism, intimate family moments, rare news headlines, and interviews with the likes of actor Stephen Fry, activist Angela Mason, and former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, this film gives a raw insight into Peter and his life’s work defending human rights.