Skip to comments.'Schindler's List' Producer Claims Graduation Speech Censorship
Posted on 06/08/2012 1:11:52 PM PDT by iowamark
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 Schindlers List with Steven Spielberg and has produced such Hollywood blockbusters as the first two Jurassic Park films and Twister. Hes a former U.S. Marine and is a sought-after motivational speaker. our editor recommends Hollywood & Politics: 'Schindler's List' Producer Gerald Molen on His Obama-Probing Documentary Universal's Ron Meyer to Speak at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television Commencement
So hes 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 (hes even making a documentary called 2016, based on the Dinesh DSouza book The Roots of Obamas Rage) and because of that, he says, Ronan High School principal Tom Stack decided to disinvite him -- and he didnt tell him so until after Molen made the 90-minute drive from his home in Bigfork, Mont.
Unlike Hollywood, Ronan isnt exactly a hotbed of liberalism (its state representative is a Republican), still, Molen says that Stack told him straight up that he wouldnt be allowed to address the students because he was a right-wing conservative.
He said some callers didnt 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, Molens 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, youre 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.
Its 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. Its very frustrating.
Im 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 Molens 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 years Ronan High School graduating class.
They should have never censored him like that, said Lewis.
Its 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. Molens 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."
So when did Montana become a hot bed of liberal wussies?
After Oregon was Californicated, the rich libs then went and Mounted Montana. How else would you explain Senator Tester?
Western, especially northwestern, Montana has had a lot of liberals from California and elsewhere move in. For the summers, usually.
the blinders might start falling off the kids
Yes, I noticed that trend on hunting and fishing trips. My friend in Billings said the Left Coast folks will ruin Montana the way they ruined Washington state by turning it into another solidly blue state. Sad.
They’ve been re-electing Max Bacus since 1782.
I guess there were no openings in Obama, Mont.
Serves him right being expelled to “clinton” montana.
MT has such a small population it doesn’t take that many Californicators to flip it.
Ronan High School principal Tom Stack needs to be publicly shamed and rebuked.
If they tar and feather him now, his hair should be somewhat grown back in before the really cold weather hits.
I will encourage someone one FR to keep track of Stack and his future. I personally would enjoy hearing that his plans for a future have included unemployment, and the protection of young thinking children from his censorship.
The folks of Clinton, MT need to know about the very biased Mr. Stack.
Molen shouldn’t fell badly. If Schindler were still alive, they probably wouldn’t have let him speak, either.
Clinton, MT is a small town of 549 people.
Still, they need to know what they are getting.
From the Ronan High Student Handbook:
The Ronan Public School District #30 is committed to equality of educational opportunity. All students have the opportunity to participate in and receive benefits from all programs or activities . . . .Discrimination in education because of sex, race . . . and political belief is prohibited unless based upon reasonable grounds as provided by law.
The District is committed to taking any appropriate and feasible remedial action necessary to eliminate existing discrimination and its effects. Inquiries or reports should be brought to Tom Stack, Title IX Coordinatorat the RHS Office. [Oh, the irony!!]
Meanwhile, the School Board is getting an unrelenting and red-hot earful.
Many retirees have homes in two states. Often they are orginally from the north but they move part time to the south. What if retirees from the south moved up to Montana during the summer to get away from the heat? If people can move south to get away from the cold in the winter, why not move north in the summer to get away from the heat?
Retired conservatives could move to places that need more conservative voters. They can elect to have that home as their official home where they will vote. I think the liberals are always moving populations around to fix the voting map the way they want it. Why can’t conservative groups do the same?