Disney Employs Corporate Censorship To Block Release of Moore's Movie
Michael Eisner has made it official. After surviving a brutal battle to remain at the head of the Walt Disney Company just last week, he ordered Harvey Weinstein of Miramax to not distribute Michael Moore’s upcoming “Fahrenheit 911”. Moore’s movie, which is being premiered at Cannes this month and has no problem being released overseas, documents the ties between the Bush family and the Saudis, and criticizes Bush’s action before and after 9/11.
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.
A senior Disney executive elaborated that the company had the right to quash Miramax's distribution of films if it deemed their distribution to be against the interests of the company. The executive said Mr. Moore's film is deemed to be against Disney's interests not because of the company's business dealings with the government but because Disney caters to families of all political stripes and believes Mr. Moore's film, which does not have a release date, could alienate many.
"It's not in the interest of any major corporation to be dragged into a highly charged partisan political battle," this executive said.
Really? Disney doesn’t seem to care about alienating many while catering to families of all political stripes when it continues to host Gay Days at its Florida parks. But since those days generate money for Disney and Eisner, it is deemed worth angering the Christian right for profits. But don’t allow an anti-Bush movie to be shown before the election, because it is bad politics.
The move by Eisner will force Weinstein to take the matter to arbitration, in Disney’s hopes that the eventual release of the movie will be delayed until after the election. Or Miramax will have to find another studio to distribute the movie and share profits with that studio, while Disney’s actions create loads of free publicity for Moore’s movie.
Never let anyone tell you that we don’t have corporate censorship in this country. This is Exhibit A. What to do? You can appeal to Eisner's new boss at Disney, a guy by the name of George Mitchell. Yeah, that George Mitchell.