Trans filmmaker says Netflix debuted Marsha P Johnson documentary stole her work
A transgender filmmaker and activist has said that the documentary maker behind the Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson stole work from her.
Reina Gossett accused David France of stealing the idea behind the documentary which debuted on Netflix on Friday.
The documentary looks at the life of Marsha P Johnson, a black trans woman who played a key role in the Stonewall riots of 1969.
Gossett alleges that France had seen a grant application which she wrote for a video about Johnson.
She says he decided to make the documentary himself and then deleted the application from public records.
Writing on Instagram, Gossett said: “This week, while I’m borrowing money to pay rent, David France is releasing his multimillion dollar Netflix deal on Marsha P. Johnson.
“I’m still lost in the music trying to #pay_it_no_mind and reeling on how this movie came to be and make so much $ off of our lives and ideas.”
Going on she says: “David got inspired to make this film from a grant application video that @sashawortzel and I made and sent to Kalamazoo/Arcus Foundation social justice center while he was visiting. He told the people who worked there — I sh/*t you not — that he should be the one to do this film, got a grant from Sundance/Arcus using my language and research about STAR, got Vimeo to remove my video of Sylvia’s critical ‘y’all better quiet down’ speech, ripped off decades of my archival research that I experienced so much violence to get, had his staff call Sasha up at work to get our contacts, then hired my and Sasha’s ADVISOR to our Marsha film Kimberly Reed to be his producer.”
Continuing: “This kind of extraction/excavation of black life, disabled life, poor life, trans life is so old and so deeply connected to the violence Marsha had to deal with throughout her life.”
Trans broadcaster and activist Janet Mock also defended Gossett on Instagram.
She wrote: “This brilliant black trans girl went about researching, archiving, and digitizing content that was previously inaccessible for decades,” she wrote. “She interviewed Marsha and Sylvia’s peers. She did this work without pay.
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