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I agree with the sentiment, but I disagree with the characterization of Disney's action as "censorship." Censorship is a pretty powerful word, and as much as I don't like it, Disney has a right to not release anything they like. The government isn't disallowing the release of the film, Disney is, so it's not technically a free speech issue, either. It's a business issue. Specifically, a symptom of the fact that, despite our reflexive conception of movie studios as makers and purveyors of art and entertainment, movie studios are really profit-driven manufacturers. In this day and age, they're profit-driven manufacturers that are growing larger and larger, with more and more various interests and concerns. They are, therefore, becoming more and more conservative and risk-averse.

In the end, Moore's film is almost certain to be released, either by Miramax or by a company much nimbler and more opportunistic, like Lion's Gate or Focus Features or somebody. If anything, the film will end up making more money because of the controversy. I KNOW Michael Moore is capitalizing on it--he's probably shooting right now, and will include the negotiations as part of the eventual theatrical release or DVD.

Troubling, annoying, but hardly surprising from our friends at the Mouse House. By the way, have you heard about the weird rumors that Mel Gibson is under consideration for Michael Eisner's job? What? Now, THAT's a potential call for a boycott.


But Disney is not choosing to not release it -- they are actively preventing ANOTHER company from releasing it. Disney has certainly objected to other Miramax films in the past, but never out and out halted a release.

Disney knew about the project for a long time. Why only now are they doing this? Why wasn't it killed (or sold) much earlier?

Does this not qualify as censorship?


I believe it is a form of censorship as well. The movie will be released by someone, though, it'll have too much hype for it not to be released. If I'm not mistaken the originally planned release date is the same day as the start of the republican national convention. It's going to be a big mess that will contribute to the movie's profit by the millions and millions.

In conclusion, Disney is bullshit and Harv's move will be highly interesting. Nice write up.


I wouldn't say that it is censorship; neither would I say that Clear Channel yanking Howard Stern is censorship. I think both are foolish, cowardly ways of dealing with emotionally and intellectually complex moral issues, but being a coward doesn't make you a censor. In this case it just makes you look like a big idiot in the end, a la all the morons who passed on distributing "The Passion of the Christ".

I do agree that Disney is only stoking the fires higher for Micheal Moore's popularity. "Bowling for Columbine" didn't suffer any from the outcry over his interview with Charlton Heston, and I doubt a little tension between Disney and Weinstein is going to do anything but increase revenue.

I would like to point out, however, that it is a bit strange that the media is wagging a finger at Disney over this but no one is bothering to wonder about the relationship between Disney and the state of Florida. I mean, if Jeb and Disney have this cozy, mutually beneficial business/political relationship that could be jeopardized because of Disney's ties to a film critical of Dubya, what else has Jeb done (or is he willing to do) for his brother?


Is there any real basis for believing that "Disney is in the pockets of the Christian right", as suggested in the parenthetical aside?

Disney's been targeted for protests and boycotts by Christian groups over its theme park "Gay Day" events, and I'm sure some of Miramax's past film releases (i.e. "Priest"), add further obstacles to any meaningful type of political alignment.

I guess Disney's history of churning out sickeningly wholesome family fare may provide a tenuous connection to conservative Christian culture, but otherwise I really don't see any meaningful evidence to suggest political collusion at any level - maybe you can elaborate, Filmbrain.

P.S. "Team Rodent" by Carl Hiassen -


I think the most important, but least spoken about, issue in all this is the alleged collusion between Disney and Jeb Bush.

First off, are these tax breaks legal? If they are, the fact that Jeb could or would consider rescinding them just because Disney releases a film with negative stuff about his brother (well, family) is pretty damn scary.

What else would Jeb do for his brother? Hint, hint.

Thanks for bringing up the Hiassen book -- I read it, and should probably pull it off my shelf as I've forgotten most of it. There was a bit about building the perfect white gated community, no?

rodney lee

Michael Moore is playing you guys like a fiddle. Come on guys, get all the facts and think about it without first putting it through the "hate Bush" filter.

And while you’re at it, take off your "I'm a starving artist trying to change the world and struggling against the mean corporations" glasses.

MM's no working class hero. He just got dropped off by his limo at his $1,000 per night hotel in France. He's watching the news and laughing his ass off at you goofballs helping him perpetuate this stupid joke that somehow he's being persecuted and muzzled.

The guy is hysterically funny - I'm a big fan and have been for years, but PLEASE try to laugh along with this "Disney / censorship" stunt.



I concur with Marleigh, and still feel this move doesn't qualify as "censorship." I also agree that Michael Moore is probably happy as all hell about this development, and the extra press it's going to get him.

However, the fact that Moore lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and stays in luxury hotels (I know for a fact he doesn't travel in a limo, though) doesn't necessarily disqualify him from holding valid populist-liberal political views. Nor does it prevent yacht-boy John Kerry from holding them, though we'd all be hard-pressed to figure out just what, exactly, John Kerry does believe.

But anyway. . .nice to have a lively comments thread rooted in film but branching out into the larger world.


I had a long conversation about this very issue last night. If anything is going on behind the scenes in this situtation, I believe there are two possibilities (both of which could be happening concurrently, though indepedent of one another).

The first scenario is that Disney and Florida have a very cozy arrangement in which Disney gets to do whatever it wants and in return Florida makes a nice profit off the tourism and employment Disney provides. Neither Disney nor Florida (Republican or Democratic goverment) would not want to alter this arrangement, resulting in an understandable concern for self-preservation on both sides. This translates into a "don't rock the boat" policy. Such decisions are common in all kinds of situations, and, as such is not all that shocking. There could be more going on, but that is all that can be proven at this point.

I still think Jeb Bush is a slimeball and wouldn't be suprised if he is involved in all kinds of shady dealings, above and beyond manipulating election results.

The second situation--and one I find highly likely--is that this is an elaborate publicity campaign orchestrated by two very outspoken public supporters of the Democratic cause: Harvey Weinstein and Michael Moore. Ol' Harv and Michael both knew that Disney opposed releasing this film from the beginning, yet Harv went ahead with development and Michael signed on to work with Miramax, knowing full well that Miramax has long-standing contractual obligations to do what Disney wants. The only reason I can think of why they would go forward is for the firestorm of publicity that would be generated when Disney inevitably pulled the plug on the release.

A brilliant PR maneuver to be sure, but it makes me wonder where the Michael Moore that I knew and loved in "Roger & Me" has gone. He is certainly angrier and more frustrated (as we all are at this point), but I am beginning to feel the Dems are developing a prurient, Replican-esque interest in scandal for the sake of ugliness.

Jon Temple


You are SOOOOOOOOOOO ignorant and resentful of success. You are a turn cout, He ihas been fighting the war more effectively and harder than anyone on this list. Then you spit on him because he is successful.

You want him to have more money to make his films and you want his films to be distributed to mass audiences all over America. GET IT. The guy is no different, but you are.

Do you that people who work in the media are getting such pressure that they have to sign agreements that they will not say anything negative about Bush. Are you aware of that. Plus, of course the tax breaks are illegal and their is WAY more to this story. By the way, Roger and Me was his angriest story, wouldn';t it have been great if MORE people could see it and not years later.

If you agree with censorship, which is what this is about, and you want fims, TV shows, media evens that can criticise the Administration, then get on Diosney's behind and write them.

There is no briliant PR move, you dodo. It is a really bad thing is a company comes out and stops the distribution of a film. Great publicity so the fi;lm will NEVER be seen in American theateres and you can bath in your ignorance.

You have no idea how Michael is at all, and he should be furious by having people whose lives and careers are in jeopardy participating in this.

Did Jeb Bush and the Busyh family ever not be incredibly seedy ? From grandpa making the family fortune from his support of the Nazi's Brother Bush of the Sliverton bank and the savings and lone scandel costing the tazxpayers billions. Yoou read about it more, but the media is not allowed to post things negative.

We need to blast disney. Eisner is in trouble with Disney and there are many web sites who want him to get because the stock is not high enough. Then I have no sympathy for.

You have not a clue. Somehow Kill Bill 1 and 2 got released by Disney, but a documentary, family picture should not ??

It is about blackmail by the Bushes, guaranteed.

Go on the disney page, boycott their products, let them know how you think. What other movies are in theaters or TV shows showing any criticism at all on the Administration ?????

Could you look at being controlled, a censored American press, and they even got you pulling for them, so there will be less information released to Americans.

The media is petrified by Bush, they are evading taxes and Bush can enforce the law is he chooses. Offshoring of all those employess so Corporations are TAX FREE.

There is a giant story here with Disney not letting another film company distribute a movie


I'd like to take this time to point out a few things:

First, I believe the expression is "turn coat," and, for my money, nothing is as ignorant as off-the-cuff ranting with barely literate spelling and illogical premises. Pot calling kettle, if you will.

I'd also like to point out that DISNEY OWNS MIRAMAX. It is not blocking another company from doing anything; it is preventing a division of itself from compromising its own economic interests. Whether those interests are legally or ethically responsible is another matter entirely. Disney and Miramax have a long-standing agreement regarding the release of films which Disney does not deem appropriate for its corporate image; it has exercised this right in the past with nary a word in the press. Suddenly, when Michael Moore enters the picture, this is a national issue of censorship.

Disney is not blocking this film from being released. They are not hiding the canisters in their vaults, never to see the light of day. They are not burning the film so it is never seen. They are simply requiring Miramax to find another company to distribute the film, rather than releasing it under the Miramax--and thereby, Disney--name. So I will repeat: this is not censorship, certainly not in the sense that it is meant in opposition to our right to freedom of speech. The film will still come out and we will all still see it in its entirety. Censorship, in an ironic twist, is what happened in the book "Fahrenheit 451"--you know, the one where the firemen burned all the books because they were dangerous?

I will say at this point that I disagree with corporate censorship. I think it is a regretful practice, but one that we cannot do anything about so long as the primary concern of the media machine is money. The people in this country are in a fragile place right now regarding general feelings about the President, the war, the economy and national security. That does not translate to a great public reception for this film outside of the circle of staunch Moore-watchers, myself included.

Secondly, the media has always and will always be biased. If the media ownership wants to make money, it is in their interest to court favor with the people who will give it to them. Artists have done this since time immemorial--from Michelangelo (hello, Medici!) to Delcroix--in order to garner funding and patronage. The early newspaper tycoons exaggerated or ignored stories depending on whom and what they could get out of it. Media standards, much like pornography, are dictated by the standards of the community; the community at large doesn't like Michael Moore, but they do like Disney.

Rather than spending your time and energy boycotting a sinking ship, why not invest all that time and energy into supporting alternative media outlets that could use it? There is far more to be done that could effect a positive outcome than sitting around bitching at a multinational corporation that, frankly, could care less what a bunch of cranky Michael Moore fans has to say. Contribute something positive instead.


Excellent post Marleigh. However, even you have to admit that Disney's reaction has NOTHING to with Disney's so-called family image NOR of community standards. Disney released the ultra-violent Kill Bill -- family-fare? Disney owns WABC radio, home to right-wing hate speech.

Hiding behind some "corporate identity" flag is utter bullshit. I'm still waiting to see if anybody asks Eisner to confirm or deny his meeting with Moore's agent and the Florida issue.

One can boycott a company while at the same time supporting alternative media. And personally, I think forcing a multinational corp to come clean on their policies IS something positive.


I agree that Disney is bullshitting about the family entertainment angle. They don't want to rock the boat--which is perfectly fine, just don't lie about it.

I agree with you that forcing Disney to come clean would be positive (and a nice vindication), but as evidenced by the slew of corporate scandals of late, just because the truth comes out, it doesn't mean that anything changes--and to my mind change is the result that matters in cases like this.

Wal-Mart got busted for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants. They paid their fine and continue to hire illegals and bust unions. Just because Disney is forced to bite the big one this time and admit to some shady dealings doesn't mean that the entire corporate system is going to do a 180, nor that Disney would not take the same action in the future. If the shareholders don't disapprove, policies will not change and we'll still be bitching about situations like this one in twenty years.

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