Disney calls Moore's complaints a PR stunt. Michael Moore, Disney continue to clash over anti-Bush film

By Brian Hiatt
May 06, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Michael Moore and Disney are continuing a public debate over the company’s decision to block distribution of his anti-Bush film ”Fahrenheit 911,” as a Disney spokesperson called Moore’s complaints a ”PR stunt,” according to Reuters. Meanwhile, both Disney chief executive Michael Eisner and Florida Governor Jeb Bush denied Moore’s allegation that Disney chose to block its Miramax division from releasing the film because they feared losing tax breaks for Disney World in Florida.

Eisner called the accusation ”ridiculous,” while Jeb Bush told the Associated Press: ”What tax break? We don’t give tax breaks, that I’m aware of, to Disney.” Eisner told the Los Angeles Times that Disney is ”a nonpartisan company,” and that consumers ”do not look for us to take sides.” He added that he’s confident that ”Fahrenheit 911” will find a distributor. ”I think it’s a totally appropriate film, and I can think of about 11 people who would love to have it.”

Prompted by the controversy, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) called for hearings to study what he called ”a disturbing pattern of politically based corporate censorship of the news media and the entertainment industry,” citing CBS’ decision not to air ”The Reagans,” among other incidents, according to Variety.  Miramax’s Harvey Weinstein has yet to comment on the controversy. But Moore told Reuters that he’s not seeking PR: ”I don’t need publicity for people to go see my movies,” he said.

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