Editor’s Note – As left-wing Hollywood dotes on President Obama, providing venues and events for fund-raising at levels where the price of admission is more than what few people earn in a year, a conservative Hollywood voice is barred from speaking at a Montana High School graduation. Why? Because he is conservative. Apparently, many educators across the land feel that only a leftist message is appropriate for our children.
Just despicable. Montana’s Ronan High School principal Tom Stack should be ashamed of himself. This was a clear example of censorship before the fact, how un-American!
UPDATED: Principal will not be coming back at that school next year.
UPDATED: A high-school principal told Oscar-winner Gerald Molen he could not deliver his speech because he is a “right-wing conservative;” on Friday, a district official apologized.
Gerald Molen won a best picture Oscar for co-producing Schindler’s List with Steven Spielberg and has produced such Hollywood blockbusters as the first two Jurassic Parkfilms and Twister. He’s a former U.S. Marine and is a sought-after motivational speaker.
By Paul Bond (firstname.lastname@example.org)
So he’s not accustomed to being shunned.
Such was the case, though, when he was invited to speak to the graduating class at a Montana high school. But upon arriving, was told by the principal he would not be allowed to deliver the speech he had prepared.
The reason, he believes, is politics.
Molen is one of those rare conservatives in Hollywood (he’s even making a documentary called 2016, based on the Dinesh D’Souza book The Roots of Obama’s Rage) and because of that, he says, Ronan High School principal Tom Stack decided to disinvite him — and he didn’t tell him so until after Molen made the 90-minute drive from his home in Bigfork, Mont.
Unlike Hollywood, Ronan isn’t exactly a hotbed of liberalism (its state representative is a Republican), still, Molen says that Stack told him straight up that he wouldn’t be allowed to address the students because he was “a right-wing conservative.”
“He said some callers didn’t want the kids exposed to that, despite not knowing what my message would be,” Molen told The Hollywood Reporter.
Stack did not return several calls seeking comment, nor did representatives from the Ronan School District.
Molen has spoken at dozens of schools and never accepts a fee. When one is offered, he asks that it be donated to the Shoah Foundation, the nonprofit organization founded by Spielberg and dedicated to the remembrance of the Holocaust.
When speaking to students, Molen’s presentations usually invoke Oskar Schindler, who is credited with saving 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust and is the subject of the Oscar-winning 1993 film that Molen co-produced with Spielberg and Branko Lustig.
For the Ronan students, Molen planned to use Schindler as an example of what courageous individuals could accomplish, and he also planned to ask them to “imagine your future is a movie. Forty years from now, you’re writing a script about your accomplishments. What would that script look like?”
“It was a totally apolitical speech,” Molen said.
Molen wrote about being disinvited, and his story was published in the Montana newspaper, The Daily Inter Lake. Now, several Ronan citizens are demanding details.
“It’s shocking,” said Colleen Adler, a resident with three children in the school district who has been trying, unsuccessfully so far, to get an official explanation for the cancellation. “It’s very frustrating.”
“I’m pissed off,” said Chuck Lewis, an occasional volunteer at the school. “Why would a school dishonor a man who served his country?”
Lewis, also a former Marine, posted Molen’s story on his two Facebook pages and asked his 3,000 “friends” to contact the school board to demand it apologize to Molen and invite him to speak to next year’s Ronan High School graduating class.
“They should have never censored him like that,” said Lewis.
It’s unknown how many phone calls have been placed, but one e-mail to the school board that was made public read: “I would like to know the process and people who canceled Gerald R. Molen’s talk to the Ronan Senior Class. I would like to also have a list of other speakers who have addressed the high school in the past five years.”
UPDATE: The incident as described by Molen “did, in fact, occur,” superintendent of schools for the Ronan district Andy Holmlund told The Hollywood Reporter on Friday.
“It is my understanding that the high-school principal made the decision based on his point of view. It is not the view of the district. That’s not the expectations that the district maintains. That principal will not be serving in this school district for the upcoming school year.”
Holmlund said Stack has accepted a position with a school in Clinton, Mont., though he refused to say when or why that decision had been made. Residents say it was likely unrelated to the controversy over Molen’s disinvitation.
Asked why Stack had not responded to several phone calls, Holmlund said: “I can’t speak to the fact that Mr. Stack isn’t talking.”
Asked about the public’s response to the sudden, nationwide pubicity to the controversy, Holmlund said: “Oh, it’s on fire, sir. Justifiably so. We don’t expect people to be treated poorly.”
When I worked with Steven Spielberg, I don’t remember ever talking politics with him; I’m sure it may have come up, but it was never a concern. As an independent who leans conservative, I never carried a flag around saying I was a conservative, but I never hid my politics either. With my more liberal friends I’ve worked with, there was never a problem with disagreeing politically. It is the American way.
This last election, it was different. It was more difficult for conservatives to open up. I don’t know why Hollywood is so monolithic in its liberal politics now. When I first started in the business, some of the bigger names in Hollywood on the right, like John Wayne and Bob Hope, weren’t afraid to exhibit their political stripes.
Today, those on the right have a tendency to hide their politics because the left is vindictive. I guess it has hurt some of them in the past, or they wouldn’t hide. All of a sudden, if you disagreed with someone, they’d intimate you’re a racist or intolerant of some people. It’s a lot of hogwash. I’ve never tolerated racism, so if I’m accused of it, I’m offended. I think it’s a tactic to shut people up.
Of course, there’s Jon Voight and Kelsey Grammer and others who are big enough that they don’t have to worry about bringing home a paycheck.
I have to be honest: I love this country. I have grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and I want the same opportunities I had for them, but I’m a touch nervous about the direction I see the country going in. I don’t want to see these kids lose their opportunity for the American Dream.
There aren’t a lot of people who know much about our president. Basically, my movie, 2016: Obama’s America, will help solve that equation. I read Dinesh D’Souza‘s book The Roots of Obama’s Rage when I realized that I, like many people, never really knew much about Barack Obama, and I loved the way it was laid out in his book. Dinesh answers the questions: Who is he, and what are his dreams?
The movie came about when I got a phone call from my partner in Hollywood, suggesting I get together with Dinesh. Of course, I liked the book, so away we went. Distribution on the movie is coming into place, and it should open in late June. Every American is our market — left, right, middle, red and blue.
It’s not really a negative take on Obama because both sides are looked at by Dinesh. The movie isn’t out there saying you should vote one way or the other; it’s just the truth, a lot of it from Obama’s own words.
I don’t think the mainstream media was honest or did a good job vetting the president. They certainly didn’t go after his background like they did George W. Bush or even John Kerry. For example, Obama was a professor of law, but there are no scholarly papers attributed to him.
Also, I’m disturbed by his penchant to circumvent Congress with his czars and by his reluctance to pay respect to the military by wearing an American flag pin. Saying that some people would be offended if he wore the flag was derelict, in my opinion. He’s the president of the United States, for crying out loud. He’s the commander in chief.
I saw a very dishonest film, Fahrenheit 9/11, from Michael Moore, and it ruined him for me. Look, there are documentaries, docudramas and propaganda. His movies fall into the latter category. My movie will be the truth.
Does Hollywood’s liberalism seep into its movies? Let’s look at the last eight or nine films about the military. I’d imagine you’d find one or two that were neutral and the rest with a liberal slant. It’s not being honest with the American people. Movies shouldn’t be used to teach an agenda.
In addition to Schindler’s List, Molen has produced or executive produced other Steven Spielberg-directed movies like Jurassic Park and Minority Report, as well as blockbusters including Rain Man and Twister.