The controversy over Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 just won’t go away. The film, which is being advertised with the strapline “Controversy? What controversy?”, has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America, meaning no one under 17 can see it. Distributors Lions Gate Films and IFC Films, opening the film next week, are appealing against the decision.
The rating came partly because the film shows images of US soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners, images Moore says he had long before the scandal erupted. He told Associated Press he kept quiet because he thought he’d be accused of “just putting this out for publicity for my movie”.
Anger at Moore is building up, too. Pro-military lobby group Move America Forward is campaigning to “Stop Michael Moore from profiting in his attacks on America and our military”; Michael Wilson is making a documentary called Michael Moore Hates America; and the website www.moorelies.com is out “to expose America’s fakest pseudo-muckraker”.
Meanwhile, in the United Arab Emirates, the film is being offered the kind of support it doesn’t need. According to Screen International, the UAE-based distributor Front Row Entertainment has been contacted by organisations related to the Hezbollah in Lebanon with offers of help.
All in all, Tony Blair must be relieved that Moore is not going to make a film about him; Moore rebuffed the rumour in a message on his website headlined: “Sorry to scare you, Tony. Michael Moore was just kidding.”