Disney Blocking Distribution of New Michael Moore Film

Disney is blocking distribution of Michael Moore's film, "Farenheit 911." The film connects Bush to prominent Saudis — including the bin Laden family — and criticizes Mr. Bush's actions before and after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Moore's agent, Ari Emanuel, said Disney head 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." More here from the NY Times and from MichaelMoore.com.

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damn librul media!

I'll bet smoke is coming out of Moore's ears. But banning him has only worked to his advantage in the past (See "Stupid White Men"), so he'll probably end up owning Disney after this.

Re:damn librul media!

I don't know that a letter-writing campaign by librarians will be quite as effective against Disney/Miramax. Sure, we can bring a publishing house to its knees (heh heh), but Disney's a whole 'nother story. But, no doubt, lemonade will be made of this lemon.

Re:damn librul media!

Why would he be mad? Its free publicity and eventually under pressure it will be released. Heaven forbid a company should do what's in their best interest instead of rolling over for whoever screams '1st Amendment!' loudest. How about Disney's 1st Amendment right to *not* say something. Silence is speech too.

Re:damn librul media!

I think it's instructive as to WHY they're not releasing it. I also think it's very telling that they seem pretty sure it will anger the current administration. Which sort of seems to indicate it might be hitting a bit close to home.

BTW, I don't see any mention of corporations having rights in the constitution.

Re:damn librul media!

How about Disney's 1st Amendment right to *not* say something. Silence is speech too.

Strictly speaking, silence is the abscence of speech, although Disney does have the right to exercise silence as much as speech. The key here is that they are not exercising their right to not speak, they are forcing their right to not speak on someone else. That is censorship.

Re:damn librul media!

BTW, I don't see any mention of corporations having rights in the constitution.

A robber baron, railway tycoon sued for such rights for his company shortly after the Civil War and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case that a fictitious entity like a corporation has all of the rights of a living, breathing, human being.

'Nother little known factoid on the topic of rights: In 1957 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the free press has a First Amendment right to lie like a dog.

Re:damn librul media!

Strictly speaking yes, but if Jesus in a jar of pee is free speach then the voluntary absence of speech is also free speech.

Also strictly speaking, Moore censors himself everytime he goes through a third party to publish his work. If he wants complete and total freedom of speech he should pony up the expenses beginning to end.

Re:damn librul media!

I have seen and read some of Moore's work. It appears to me he started out with a noble purpose, but it has declined from there.


If I paid for the production of a film and wanted to burn it that is my right as I have financed it. If Miramax wants to not release the film, that too is their right.


Eisner is not in the best position now to do anything that might upset shareholders. Most shareholders are instutions run by rich conservative white men. It would not be wise to anger the shareholders.

Re:damn librul media!

Strictly speaking, silence is the abscence of speech

Legally, silence is speech.

they are forcing their right to not speak on someone elseHogwash. They were in a business relationship with Moore and they opted not to distribute the film. For goodness sake, they are a movie distributor! They aren't obligated to distribute every movie that comes down the pike! I made a movie, should Disney be REQUIRED to distribute it?

In this situation, Disney is not distributing a film. They have every right to distribute or not distribute this film, it is their business decision. The First Amendment nor any other law can't force them to distribute Moore's film, unless there was some sort of contractual obligation on their part to distribute the film.

Disney is in the business to make money. Sure this film might make money; however, Disney is also a brand and they might not want to be associated with this film. That is their business decision. This film might make lots of money because there are a lot of crazy people who believe the crap that Michael Moore pumps out. BTW, mullets are also widely popular. Such is life.

This is not censorship. There is no First Amendment right to have Disney distribute films.

Moore reply

Heard on NPR yesterday Moore say that their contract explicitly states they can only stop release under two certain conditions, which I can't recall, but neither of which apply here. I saw somewhere that Disney is now saying they told Moore a long time ago they wouldn't release it. Personally I hope he uses the lawsuit "stick" to make a point. But Disney has deep pockets.

Re:damn librul media!

This is not censorship.

Business considerations notwithstanding, this effort to block the film's distribution is a matter of a content and viewpoint discrimination being perpetrated for the benefit of one government to curry political favour with another government. That is censorship.

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