June 17, 2004
We’re a week away from the nationwide opening of “Fahrenheit 9/11” and not a day goes by where we don’t have some new battle to fight thanks to those who are still working overtime to keep people from seeing this film. What’s their problem? Are they worried about something?
A Republican PR firm has formed a fake grassroots front group called “Move America Forward” to harass and intimidate theater owners into not showing “Fahrenheit 9/11.” These are the same people who successfully badgered CBS into canceling the Reagan mini-series a few months ago. And they are spending a ton of money this week to threaten movie theaters who even think about showing our movie.
As of this morning, a little over 500 theaters have agreed to show the movie beginning next Friday, June 25. There are three national/regional theater chains who, as of today, have not booked the movie in their theaters. One theater owner in Illinois has reported receiving death threats.
The right wing usually wins these battles. Their basic belief system is built on censorship, repression, and keeping people ignorant. They want to limit or snuff out any debate or dissension. They also don’t like pets and are mean to small children. Too many of them are named “Fred.”
This new nut group is the Right’s last hope in limiting how many people can see this movie. All of their other efforts have failed.. Let’s recap:
1. Roger Friedman at FOX News reported that the head of the company which first agreed to fund our film “got calls from Republican friends” pressuring them to back out. And they did. But… Miramax immediately picked up the film! Except…
2. Michael Eisner, the chairman of Disney, then blocked Miramax (a company owned by Disney) from releasing the film once it was finished. But… public attention and embarrassment forced Disney to let the Weinstein brothers of Miramax find another distributor! But…
3. Instead of a new distributor stepping right in — as all the media predicted would happen — it took another month to find distributors who would take on this movie. A number of other distributors, thanks to various pressures, were afraid to get involved. It looked for a while that we would be distributing this ourselves. But then Lions Gate and IFC Films rode in to the rescue!
So, we have beaten back all attempts to kill this movie, and the only thing in the way of you now seeing “Fahrenheit 9/11” is this Republican big-money front group trying to force theaters not to show the movie.
Please, contact your local theaters and let them know you want to see “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Tell them that some people don’t know that this is America and that we believe in freedom of speech and the importance of ALL voices being heard. (The members of MoveOn.org—an ACTUAL grassroots organization—have done a very cool thing. They are pledging to send a message to theater owners and are planning to attend a showing of the film on its opening weekend.)
I appreciate their efforts, but you don’t have to be a member of MoveOn to help stop this effort to keep “Fahrenheit 9/11” from making it to screens across the country. If a theater in your area is planning to show the film, just give them a call and thank them for standing up for the freedom of speech. If your local theater isn’t showing the film, call them and let them know that you would like to see it and you’d like them to show it.
The White House and their minions in our media have presented one distorted version of the truth after another for the past four years. All we are asking for is the right to show what they HAVEN’T shown us, the real truth. The truth that ain’t pretty (and is, sadly, damningly hilarious).
On top of all this, the MPAA gave the film an “R” rating. I want all teenagers to see this film. There is nothing in the film in terms of violence that we didn’t see on TV every night at the dinner hour during the Vietnam War. Of course, that’s the point, isn’t it? The media have given the real footage from Iraq a “cleansing” — made it look nice, easy to digest. Mario Cuomo has offered to be our lawyer in appealing this ruling by the MPAA. Frankly, I would like to think the MPAA is saying that the actions by the Bush administration are so abhorrent and revolting, we need to protect our children from seeing what they have done. In that case, the film should be rated NC-17!
However it turns out, I trust all of you teenagers out there will find your way into a theater to see this movie. If the government believes it is OK to send slightly older teenagers to their deaths in Iraq, I think at the very least you should be allowed to see what they are going to draft you for in a couple of years.
Finally, some very sophisticated individuals have been hacking into and shutting down our website. It is an hourly fight to keep it up. We are going to find out who is doing this and we are going to pursue a criminal prosecution. I’m preparing lots of cool stuff for the site so watch for new items on it next week (www.fahrenheit911.com and http://www.michaelmoore.com).
Thanks again for your support and I hope to see you at the movies on opening night, June 25.
PS. I am sponsoring a number of benefits around the country next week for local and national peace and justice groups, including Military Families Speak Out and September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. Please check your local papers and my website next week for further details.
PPS. Also, I am going to be on the “Late Show with David Letterman” on Friday night. It’s on CBS at 11:35 PM Eastern and Pacific. And on Monday morning (June 21) I will be on “The Today Show” on NBC. Next week, Jon Stewart and Conan. I’d go on O’Reilly but, like a coward, he walked out on a screening we invited him to (with Al Franken just a few rows away!). I personally caught him sneaking out. Embarrassed, he tried to change the subject. He said, “When are you coming on my show?” and I said, “Turn around and watch the rest of the movie and I will come on your show.” He walked out. Fair and balanced.