(FROM VARIETY) – Steven Spielberg announced on Tuesday (Feb. 12) that he has quit his post as an artisic adviser for the upcoming Summer Olympics in Beijing, citing the host country’s inadequate response to the crisis in Darfur. ”After careful consideration, I have decided to formally announce the end of my involvement as one of the overseas artistic advisers to the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games,” Spielberg said in a statement. He added, ”I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue with business as usual. At this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies, but on doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that will continue to be committed in Darfur.”
The decision was announced just hours after actress Mia Farrow criticized Spielberg for working with Chinese officials given that China continues to do business with the Sudan despite its failure to put an end to the crisis in its Darfur region. According to the AP, China buys two-thirds of Sudan’s oil exports, sells weapons to the Sudanese government, and has defended the country’s government in the U.N. Security Council even though thousands of people in Darfur have been killed and millions displaced in a crisis several international officials have described as genocide.
Spielberg’s departure is a blow to the Chinese government’s efforts to keep the Olympics from being politicized.
”I have made repeated efforts to encourage the Chinese government to use its unique influence to bring safety and stability to the Darfur region of Sudan,” Spielberg’s statement read. ”Although some progress has been made … the situation continues to worsen and the violence continues to accelerate.” (Variety)