The rematch between insurgent filmmaker Reed Cowan and Utah State Senator Chris Buttars (R-West Jordan) is on. To add spice, both are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The occasion was the screening of Cowan's anti-Mormon documentary film, "8: The Mormon Proposition" at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. The LDS Church had previously weighed in on the documentary, saying "We have not seen '8: The Mormon Proposition'. However, judging from the trailer and background material online, it appears that accuracy and truth are rare commodities in this film." They also said, "We had no desire to participate in something so obviously biased,” and that "anyone looking for balance and thoughtful discussion of a serious topic will need to look elsewhere." Media stories from the Salt Lake Tribune.
In an interview on KUTV Channel 2 aired Sunday January 24th, 2010, Buttars claimed that when Cowan and his insurgents first showed up to interview him for the documentary, they represented themselves as Brigham Young University students, wearing BYU shirts and speaking of serving LDS missions, and thus disingenously gaining his trust. KUTV video of Buttars interview embedded below:
But Reed Cowan was ready, and fired back. Cowan claimed that he and his crew were not wearing shirts with BYU logos, and produced photos taken at the interview that prove it. Cowan, who is openly gay, then called Buttars a liar and demanded his resignation, although he claims that he isn't asking Buttars to resign because of his opposition to homosexuality, but because Buttars is misrepresenting the interview. Cowan once worked as a reporter for KTVX Channel 4. KUTV news video showing Cowan's response embedded below:
Hat tip to ChinoBlanco for the videos. ChinoBlanco also interviewed Reed Cowan about this documentary back in May 2009; read the transcript HERE.
Reed Cowan also claims that because of Buttars' occasional penchant for remarks considered inflammatory by some, he's become too much of a distraction to be an effective lawmaker. "Where are his colleagues saying we can't tolerate another session of being upstaged by Senator Buttars?" Cowan asked. "We are in an economic crisis. We have educational crisis. Senator Buttars is back on the air spreading lies and grandstanding."
Round one of this conflict broke out in February 2009 after quotes from Cowan's interview with Buttars leaked out. In addition, Cowan briefly posted a YouTube promo of the documentary which quoted Buttars as referring to homosexuality as "pig sex" (the promo was quickly taken down). The purpose was to show Chris Buttars in the most unfavorable light possible. So even if Buttars' memory about the interview is now a bit hazy, Reed Cowan clearly has an agenda - a pro-gay agenda. And the documentary can be considerered "anti-Mormon".
Update January 27th: The Salt Lake Tribune reported on January 27th that Cowan told KUTV that his photographer, David Daniels, did wear a BYU jacket -- because Daniels is a graduate of the school. But Cowan and the others were not wearing BYU logos.