John Waters, director of the original Hairspray movie and a producer of the upcoming remake, has come to the defense of John Travolta, who plays a woman, Edna Turnblad, in the new film. The decision to cast Travolta, a Scientologist, in the role was castigated last week by Kevin Naff, editor of the gay newspaper the Washington Blade, who claimed that Scientologists operate "reparative clinics to try to 'cure' gays." He demanded a gay boycott of the film. Responding to Naff's remarks in the New York Daily News's Rush and Molloy column, Waters said, "If [Travolta] was homophobic ... dancing in that fat suit with as many gay people as are working on this film, he would have had a heart attack and been dead." Other writers have noted that before he died, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard appeared to disavow his earlier positions on homosexuality and that gay activists, including West Hollywood drug counselor Keith Relkin, are members. (Relkin once wrote that a Scientology chaplain "helped me deal with coming out as a gay man.")