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Oscars As Advocacy: Pardon Petition Fueled By 'The Imitation Game' Making Its Way To 10 Downing Street

The story within the story of The Weinstein Company’s Best Picture Oscar nominee The Imitation Game is the reality that soon after Alan Turing helped break the Nazi’s Enigma Code that brought an early end to World War II, he was convicted under the UK’s anti-gay laws. His sentence was expunged in 2013 after the law was repealed, but the awareness brought on by the movie has helped generate a call to pardon the estimated 49,000 men who also were sentenced.

Now a Change.org petition calling for the pardons is headed to Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street by week’s end, Deadline has learned. The petition, which has generated more than 342,000 signatures including from Hollywood heavyweights, will be delivered by Turing’s great niece Rachel Barnes and great nephew Nevil Hunt.

“Each of these 49,000 men deserves the justice and acknowledgment from the British government that this intolerant law brought not only unwarranted shame but horrific physical and mental damage and lost years of wrongful imprisonment to these men” said Matthew Breen, editor-in-chief of The Advocate and a main driver of the petition.
“Alan Turing was pardoned in 2013, but the other estimated 49,000 men deserve the same.”

The Imitation Game gang has been advocating awareness of Turing’s conviction — he committed suicide in 1954, two years after his sentence — since the movie’s release November 28. It has grossed $157.1M worldwide and is up for eight Oscars, including Best Pic, Best Actor for Benedict Cumberbatch, Best Supporting Actress for Keira Knightley, Best Director for Morten Tyldum and Best Adapted Screenplay for Graham Moore along with Editing, Score and Production Design.

  1. While the men fully deserve to be pardoned, this is a shameless, desperate attempt by the lazy editor of the Advocate to make his publication seem relevant again and to latch on to TWC’s Oscar campaign.

  2. And once again Weinstein will drop any social advocacy or smear campaigns immediately after the Oscars and totally forget about it.

    1. Exactly. That’s why it’s embarrassing that The Advocate, which has definitely seen better days, has attached itself to this campaign.

  3. The men convicted of “gross indecency” also included men who had sex with boys. Turing did not, but Oscar WIlde did, and was convicted of “gross indecency”, and also wrote about his sex with boys. I dont mind pardoning the 30,000 that had sex with consenting adults, but the other 19,000 that had sex with boys should not be pardoned. I was molested by a homosexual at age 14, so this is an issue close to my heart.

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