Thursday, May 06, 2004

Yet another example of commercial censorship compliments of Disney Co. Have no doubts that Moore will ultimately find a distributor and that, thanks to all the publicity surrounding Disney's efforts to spike the film, Fahrenheit 911 will make money hand over fist.

Michael Moore Film Faces Disney Censorship

May 5, 2004

The Disney corporation is forbidding its subsidiary, Miramax Films, to
distribute Michael Moore's new documentary, the New York Times reported

The film, Fahrenheit 911, explores the Bush family's close personal and
financial ties to the Saudi royal family, and describes how the current
Bush administration helped evacuate relatives of Osama bin Laden from the
United States after the September 11 attacks in 2001. A Disney executive
told the New York Times that it was blocking the distribution of the film
in the United States and Canada because, in the paper's words, "Disney
caters to families of all political stripes and believes Mr. Moore's
film...could alienate many."

The executive is quoted: "It's not in the interest of any major
corporation to be dragged into a highly charged partisan political

Given that corporations like Disney control much of the public discussion
in the U.S., this avowed unwillingness to air controversial viewpoints
that might challenge the views of some customers is chilling enough. But
Moore's agent, Ari Emanuel, charges that Disney has an even more
disturbing reason for blocking the film. According to Emanuel, he had a
conversation last spring with Disney chief executive Michael Eisner, who
asked him to cancel his deal with Miramax and "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."

Disney may have another reason, not mentioned by the Times, to reject a
film that might offend the Saudi royal family: A powerful member of the
family, Al-Walid bin Talal, owns a major stake in Eurodisney and has been
instrumental in the past in bailing out the financially troubled amusement
park (AFP, 6/1/94). The project is facing a new cash crunch, and Al-Walid
has been mentioned as a potential rescuer again (L.A. Times, 1/26/04).

Whatever Disney's motivations for not wanting to release the film, it's
not because there is no audience waiting to see it. Moore's last film,
Bowling for Columbine, grossed $58 million worldwide. Unfortunately, when
giant corporations are making the decisions, the fact that millions of
people might want to see a film doesn't necessarily mean that they'll be
able to-- if that film might conflict with the corporation's other

ACTION: Please contact Disney and urge the company to allow Miramax to
distribute Fahrenheit 911.

George Mitchell
The Walt Disney Company
Phone: 818-560-1000

For another action on this subject, see Act for Change:

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