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May 05, 2004

The Damaged Kingdom

Disney is trying to block the release of Michael Moore's new film, "Fahrenheit 911." And why is Disney doing this? Moore's agent claims Disney just wants to protect its relationship with the Bush administration:

Mr. Moore's agent, Ari Emanuel, said Michael D. Eisner, Disney's chief executive, asked him last spring to pull out of the deal with Miramax. Mr. Emanuel said Mr. Eisner expressed particular concern that it would endanger tax breaks Disney receives for its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida, where Mr. Bush's brother, Jeb, is governor.

"Michael Eisner asked me not to sell this movie to Harvey Weinstein; that doesn't mean I listened to him," Mr. Emanuel said. "He definitely indicated there were tax incentives he was getting for the Disney corporation and that's why he didn't want me to sell it to Miramax. He didn't want a Disney company involved."

Disney executives deny that accusation, though they said their displeasure over the deal was made clear to Miramax and Mr. Emanuel.

Yeah, of course Disney denies the accusation. But this move may have been the best thing Moore could hope for, since it's generating tons of free press and "buzz" about the film. Plus, he's made the front page of the NY Times with a quote like this:

"At some point the question has to be asked, `Should this be happening in a free and open society where the monied interests essentially call the shots regarding the information that the public is allowed to see?' "

and this:

Mr. Moore does not disagree that "Fahrenheit 911" is highly charged, but he took issue with the description of it as partisan. "If this is partisan in any way it is partisan on the side of the poor and working people in this country who provide fodder for this war machine," he said.

Doesn't Disney care about the poor and working people? Oh yeah, only insofar as they buy tickets to theme parks and movies.

Posted May 5, 2004 06:36 AM | general politics

All this talk about Michael Moore reminds me of
my favorite TV clip from this year (at the Oscars):

Click here to view it

Justin @ RSR

Posted by: justin @ RSR at May 5, 2004 09:20 AM

At least Moore has the sense of humour to take part in something like that. Ya think we can get Rush to do a "Drugstore Cowboy" lampoon next year?

Posted by: Steve at May 5, 2004 11:21 PM

Oh, yeah, and the reason I stopped to post a comment in the first place. Ambimb, good luck on your property final tomorrow, and enjoy your summer. I know I will.

Posted by: Steve at May 5, 2004 11:24 PM

yay for michael moore! anyone else think that's a fantastic title for this movie?

Posted by: monica at May 6, 2004 06:46 AM

Before I begin my rant, a little disclaimer: I'm a registered Democrat; I liked Bowling for Columbine and I'm looking forward to seeing this film; I live and work blocks from WTC (I was across the street on 9/11), so this is an issue particularly close to me.


Sigh. I've grown terribly weary of Michael Moore's antics.

I'm not saying Disney didn't have ulterior motives, and I'm not judging them one way or another - but you don't think Moore has an agenda as well?

He is a controversial, politically-charged director (person). These accusations are manufacturing controversy for an already controversial film.

"See the movie that [so and so] doesn't want you to see". What a publicity stunt.

Moore originally claimed that Disney was trying to sabotage the release - until he eventually admitted that he knew over a year ago they never were going to distribute it. In fact, "a source close to Miramax" said the original agreement covered production, not distribution, of the film.

In one sense, zealots are a (recursively) necessarily evil: they balance out the zealots on the other side. On the other hand, I discount most of what they say. Overzealous, politically-charged agendas are rarely rational or objective.


Posted by: Tim Marman at May 13, 2004 01:28 PM

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