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 His sentence was expunged in 2013 after the law was repealed, but the awareness brought on by the movie has helped generate a call to pardon the estimated 49,000 men who also were sentenced.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.