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'Out of the Closet' Series at Ithaca College Will Screen Film on Boxer Emile Griffith

 ITHACA, NY — A dark moment in American sports history will be the focus of the next film showing in the Out of the Closet and Onto the Screen series at Ithaca College. “Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story,” a documentary about the severe consequences of anti-gay slurs in the world of professional boxing, will be shown on Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. in Textor 103. It is free and open to the public.

On March 24, 1962, Emile Griffith pummeled Benny “Kid” Paret into unconsciousness as a nationwide television audience watched their fight for the welterweight boxing championship. Paret died 10 days later, and the resulting controversy kept boxing off of network television until the 1970s and made Griffith an object of scorn.

It wasn’t until 2005 that it was revealed that Griffith’s rage might have been fueled by an anti-gay epithet hurled at him by Paret at the weigh-in prior to the bout. In “Ring of Fire,” Griffith speaks of the night that has haunted him for four decades and also recounts the time when he was viciously beaten himself after leaving a gay bar.

The Out of the Closet and Onto the Screen series is sponsored by the Ithaca College Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Education, Outreach, and Services, with support provided by the Jack Dembow Charitable Foundation. For more information, visit