Wednesday, May 05, 2004
The Walt Disney Company is blocking its Miramax Films division from distributing Michael Moore's documentary "Fahrenheit 911," which criticizes President Bush, according to a statement on Moore's Web site.
The film is highly critical of Bush's handling of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and his actions leading up the attacks.
"I would have hoped by now that I would be able to put my work out to the public without having to experience the profound censorship obstacles I often seem to encounter," Moore wrote in the statement.
Miramax spokesman Matthew Hiltzik did not immediately return calls for comment Wednesday. Disney spokesman John Spelich also did not return calls early Wednesday.
Moore attributes Disney's decision to concerns that the documentary will endanger tax breaks the company receives from Florida and anger Bush's brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Disney has a contractual agreement with Miramax principals Bob and Harvey Weinstein allowing it to prevent the company from distributing films under certain circumstances, such as an NC-17 rating, according to The New York Times, which first reported the story.
"Some people may be afraid of this movie because of what it will show," Moore wrote. "But there's nothing they can do about it now because it's done, it's awesome, and if I have anything to say about it, you'll see it this summer — because, after all, it is a free country."
The often confrontational director won an Oscar for his 2002 documentary "Bowling for Columbine," about the Columbine High School shooting and U.S. gun control policy. He's also known for the 1989 film "Roger & Me," which explored the effects of General Motors on his hometown of Flint, Mich. "Fahrenheit 911" will be one of 18 films in competition next week at the Cannes Film Festival, Moore wrote.