Pete's response to Michael Moore's claims
gernblanston67 at hotmail.com
Thu Jul 8 08:11:32 CDT 2004
Fahrenheit Moore or Less
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Michael Moore has been making some claims mentioning me by name - which
I believe distort the truth.
He says among other things that I refused to allow him to use my song
WONT GET FOOLED AGAIN in his latest film, because I support the war, and
that at the last minute I recanted, but he turned me down. I have never
hidden the fact that at the beginning of the war in Iraq I was a supporter.
But now, like millions of others, I am less sure we did the right thing.
When first approached I knew nothing about the content of his film
FAHRENHEIT 911. My publisher informed me they had already refused the use of
my song in principle because MIRAMAX the producers offered well below what
the song normally commands for use in a movie. They asked me if I wanted to
ask for more money, I told them no.
Nevertheless, as a result of my refusal to consider the use, Harvey
Weinstein a good friend of mine, and my manager Bill Curbishley
interceded personally, explained in more detail to Bill what the movie was
about, and offered to raise the bid very substantially indeed. This brought
the issue directly to me for the first time. Bill emailed me and told me how
keen Harvey and Michael Moore were to use my song.
At this point I emailed Bill (and he may have passed the essence of what I
said to Harvey Weinstein) that I had not really been convinced by BOWLING
FOR COLUMBINE, and had been worried about its accuracy; it felt to me like a
bullying film. Out of courtesy to Harvey I suggested that if he and Moore
were determined to have me reconsider, I should at least get a chance to see
a copy of the new film. I knew that with Cannes on the horizon, time was
running short for them, and this might not be possible. I never received a
copy of the film to view. At no time did I ask Moore or Miramax to
reconsider anything. Once I had an idea what the film was about I was 90%
certain my song was not right for them.
I believe that in the same email to my publisher and manager that contained
this request to see the film I pointed out that WGFA is not an
unconditionally anti-war song, or a song for or against revolution. It
actually questions the heart of democracy: we vote heartily for leaders who
we subsequently always seem to find wanting. (WGFA is a song sung by a
fictional character from my 1971 script called LIFEHOUSE. The character is
someone who is frightened by the slick way in which truth can be twisted by
clever politicians and revolutionaries alike). I suggested in the email that
they might use something by Neil Young, who I knew had written several songs
of a more precise political nature, and is as accessible as I am. Moore
himself takes credit for this idea, and I have no idea whether my suggestion
reached him, but it was the right thing to do.
I have nothing against Michael Moore personally, and I know Roger Daltrey is
a friend and fan of his, but I greatly resent being bullied and slurred by
him in interviews just because he didnt get what he wanted from me. It
seems to me that this aspect of his nature is not unlike that of the
powerful and wilful man at the centre of his new documentary. I wish him all
the best with the movie, which I know is popular, and which I still havent
seen. But hell have to work very, very hard to convince me that a man with
a camera is going to change the world more effectively than a man with a
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