Pro Surfer Claims Anti-Gay Bias by Film Execs

     HONOLULU (CN) – An award-winning pro surfer claims film producers denied her a role in the 2011 faith-based biopic drama “Soul Surfer” not only because she is a lesbian, but also because they believed she starred in gay porn.
     Keala Kennelly, ranked as the second-greatest female surfer in the world, sued Brookwell McNamara Entertainment, Inc. after producers passed her over for a role in the film. Kennelly filed her suit in Hawaii’s First Circuit Court on April 29.
     “Soul Surfer” is a film adaptation of surfer Bethany Hamilton’s autobiography about her life after a horrific shark attack and recovery.
     Kennelly auditioned for the role of an announcer December 2009, and she claims Brookwell McNamara discussed two other roles for her, including a contest official and another pro surfer.
     In January 2010, Kennelly learned that Brookwell McNamara had chosen not to give her any role for the biopic, according to the suit.
     Brookwell McNamara Entertainment, Inc., the company behind Disney Channel’s “That’s So Raven” and “Even Stevens, did not offer reasons as to why Kennelly – a Screen Actors Guild member – wasn’t chosen, the lawsuit claims.
     Kennelly claims that as producers mulled over casting, a female producer told director Sean McNamara she “had some dirt on” Kennelly.
     “‘For one thing, she is gay,'” Kennelly’s complaint quotes the producer as saying. “‘And she does gay porn. It’s on the Internet.'”
     Without checking the accuracy of the producer’s dirt, McNamara allegedly said, “‘No way! Oh no. Well we can’t use her then,'” the complaint states.
     Though openly gay, Kennelly denies ever making pornographic movies, the lawsuit claims.
     Kennelly says she lost her SAG health coverage because Brookwell McNamara passed her over for the roles.
     She is suing for religion discrimination based on sexual orientation and sexual orientation discrimination. She seeks compensatory, special and punitive damages.
     Elizabeth Fujiwara of Honolulu represents Kennelly.
     Kennelly also played a role in the 2002 film “Blue Crush” and in the HBO series “John from Cincinnati.” She was also Freesurf Magazine’s “Female Surfer of the Year” in 2007.
     Brookwell McNamara Entertainment also produced the war drama “Field of Lost Shoes” and co-produced “Legally Blondes 3.”

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