August 22, 2005


Help! I`m A Hollywood Republican! (Robert J. Avrech, 8/18/05, Jewish Press)

I’m a Republican. A heretofore secret Hollywood Republican. I know men and women who are heavy drug addicts and they have no problem finding employment in Hollywood. I know men and women who are gambling addicts and they work pretty regularly. There’s even a director who was arrested for child molestation and yet was hired by Disney — yes, Disney — to helm a picture, and people defended this decision by saying even child molesters have a right to work. I would bet my bottom dollar that all these people are on the correct side of the political spectrum. They are liberal democrats.

Me, I’m a Republican. [...]

The political divide in Hollywood is now being felt in the most important quarter: the war against Islamic terrorism. Basically, Hollywood denies that such a war exists.

Script #1: I was recently hired to write a movie for a cable station about the war on terrorism. I was flown to New York where I had a long meeting with the head of the network about what he wanted. He described it thus: “I want a hard-hitting multi-character story about terrorism, with one storyline that emphasizes how someone can be reached through education.”

Okay, that sounded pretty good. My juices were flowing. This is the kind of material I specialize in. Humanistic but with some good action scenes.

And then the head of the network started talking about President Bush. He accused him of being anti-Semitic.

I was flabbergasted. You may disagree with President Bush’s policies, you may not like his speeches or the way he butchers the English language, but gee willikers, no American president has shown such friendship to Jews and to Israel as this fine man. I tried to lay out a few facts, but the head of the network — Jewish, naturally — just brushed them aside. Don’t bother me with facts, he was saying, I believe what I believe and that’s the end of the conversation.

I should have interpreted this as a warning of what was to come and not taken the job. But I did.

After handing in the first draft, I was told that the character of the Islamic suicide bomber was not acceptable. I was told that my portrayal was “insensitive.” After the second draft I was ordered to remove the mosque where a dissident group was vying for control from the more moderate Muslims. And now, five drafts later, here’s what the screenplay has turned into: The Islamic terrorists who properly dominated the original draft are now minor players. American militia members, ala Timothy McVeigh, are now the bad guys.

When I tried to explain that American militia members are hardly a threat to anyone now that the back of the militia movement has been broken through a series of lawsuits, the executives stared right through me. When I confront these people with the truth they look at me as if I am some visitor from some foreign planet.

Which I guess I am.

This film is no longer about terrorism. It’s no longer about…anything. It’s a mess. A jumble of conflicting story lines that can never cohere because the network executives, all proud Democrats, refuse to admit that Islamic terror exists. I was actually told in one meeting that “Jewish terrorists” in Israel are just as dangerous as Arab terrorists. I stared at the executives and felt my blood pressure rise. Jewish terrorists? What Jewish terrorists? What universe are these people living in? Are they just making this stuff up as they go along? Are they even aware that they are lying? Do they even care? Or do they truly believe the nonsense they spout? If they do, then I am truly frightened.

Further, I was lectured that I was anti-Islamic and my screenplay proved it because most of my Islamic characters were terrorists. I tried to calmly and rationally explain that it was Islamic terrorists who sawed off Daniel Pearl’s head; Islamic terrorists who brought down the Twin Towers; Islamic terrorists who blew up the USS Cole; and Islamic terrorists who routinely butcher Israeli men, women and children.

“Israel is different,” the Jewish producers self-righteously lectured me. “If not for the occupation, blah, blah, blah....Besides, we don’t deal in stereotypes...”

In fact, these Hollywood executives do not deal in or care about truth.

Nor, apparently, do they care about making movies that Americans want to see.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 22, 2005 11:06 PM

I would say the problem with 9/11, as far as getting the message through to Hollywood, was that the terrorists' targets were all on the east coast and thousands of miles away from Los Angeles, where an attack might have caused reality to set in. But Avrech's description of the New York executives -- and a review of just about any op-ed page of the New York Times -- shows that you can be only a few miles from Ground Zero and still not be able to figure out who the target is or where the real enemy is located.

Posted by: John at August 23, 2005 12:28 AM

Obviously a Jewish conspiracy to destroy Hollywood at work here.

Posted by: Randall Voth at August 23, 2005 3:50 AM

He should have just written a script about (bearded) Jewish terrorists and their enablers in the IDF. Someday, Hollywood will be reduced to that. And they will be gleeful about it, even if no one sees the movie.

Posted by: ratbert at August 23, 2005 9:24 AM

My apologies to the very fine HBO series,,but the sign should be changed from "HOLLYWOOD" to "DEADWOOD".
I'm sure there are some who might think that they are a bigger fan of film than I am but they'd be mistaken.
I love the "movies".
Unfortunatly, the crap being produced recently is quite frankly, unwatchable.
The last major release that I went to view was the last in the "Star Wars" saga.
I found the underlying political message to be insulting.
The powers that be in Hollywood should be looking for fresh ideas rather than churning out remakes and sequels to films that sucked in the first place.
Furthermore, Some of the No-talent, eye candy being passed off on the American public as "actors" makes me nostaligic for the likes of Humphrey Bogart,Betty Bacall,Agnes Morehead,And YES! even Ronald Reagan.
It's no wonder that ticket sales are down and the American public is staying away from the theaters in droves.
Wake up Hollywood!

Posted by: Fire!Fire!Fire! at August 23, 2005 10:48 AM

Apparently Mr. Avrech doesn't want to work in movies anymore...

It is quite a mystery why absolutely no one is making WOT movies. It can't be that hard to raise $20-30 million to make a decent war flick that would make 10 times that much...

Posted by: b at August 23, 2005 11:33 AM
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