BBC News Online – 2004-06-18 09:28:51
LONDON (June 18, 2004) — US conservative groups have launched a campaign to have Michael Moore’s “misleading and grotesque” film Fahrenheit 9/11 banned from cinemas. The film alleges connections between President George Bush and top Saudi families, including the Bin Ladens.
Move America Forward has begun a letter-writing campaign, while Citizens United is making TV and internet adverts which criticise Moore. The documentary film will be shown around the US from 25 June.
‘MoveForward’ v. ‘MoveOn’
Move America Forward members were behind a letter-writing campaign that led US channel CBS to drop TV movie The Reagans last November, claiming the film distorted history.
The group has received several thousand e-mails of support for its Fahrenheit 9/11 campaign, said executive director Siobhan Guiney, a former Republican Party lobbyist.
“Since we are the customers of the American movie theatres it is important for us to speak up loudly and tell the industry executives that we don’t want this misleading and grotesque movie being shown at our local cinema,” the group said on its website, listing contact details for various US cinemas.
Ms Guiney said: “(Moore) is critical of what’s happening right now, and there’s no problem with being critical – but his movie is not a documentary, it’s a piece of propaganda.”
Citizens United is headed by former Republican congressional aide David Bossie, who is also targeting George Soros, a billionaire who donated nearly $13m (£7m) to groups seeking to defeat President Bush.
Mr Bossie said: “Look, this guy (Moore) is simply producing and advertising this movie at this time to try to affect the election. It seems to be left to us to make sure that the media is educated, as well as the American people are educated, as to just what they’re up to.”
Despite the campaign by the two independent groups, US cinema chain Regal Entertainment Group said it intended to go ahead and screen the film as planned. And US liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org has asked its supporters to write to cinemas on Move America Forward’s list, urging them not to give in to pressure to block the film.
Fahrenheit 9/11’s US distributor Lions Gate Films believes the plan to have the film banned will fail. “My guess is that their efforts will backfire and only rally support for the film, which will be terrific as far as I’m concerned,” said president Tom Ortenberg. “We need less censorship in this country, not more.”
Fahrenheit 9/11 won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and will be released in the UK on 9 July.
© BBC MMIV