IJMC - The Mayor, The Starr, and Michael Moore
I think I'm going to get all the political humor out of the way at once.
Or something not quite like that. This is a long rant from another
mailing list out there. So if you like it, go get it! -dave
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 09:21:15 -0600
From: Thomas Lower <thomasl@ABC3340.com>
Subject: The Mayor, The Starr, and Michael Moore
Thought you guys might find this as amusing as I did- especially the bit
about the Puritans chasing Starr... (To get yourself on Michael Moore's
mailing list, go to www.dogeatdogfilms.com
The Mayor, The Starr, and Michael Moore
It's been a bizarre two weeks here on the set of
"The Awful Truth," our new television show in the
spirit of "TV Nation" that will debut on BRAVO on
While I had intended to write to you by now with
ideas on how we can prevent "The Evil of Two
Lessers" in the 2000 election, events of a different
nature overtook us at the "The Awful Truth."
On Nov. 5, two days after the election, I was shooting
a segment for our show about a man named Ira Rennert.
He is one of the richest men in the country and he is
considered by the EPA to be the top toxic polluter in
the country. Few people have ever heard of him and
a search by our staff has revealed that there is no video
footage of him and only two or three known photographs.
Recently, Mr. Rennert has come into the public spotlight,
not because of his polluting, but because he is
building the largest house in America out in the
wealthy Hamptons on Long Island. The $100 million
abode will have 28 bedrooms and 39 bathrooms.
So, on Nov. 5th, I went to his home and office to
present him with our "Man of the Year" award.
Any guy who insists on 39 bathrooms is a guy we
can relate to.
Mr. Rennert was at neither location but we left our
award, a statue in his likeness, with his people.
The next day, we received a call from the New York
City Mayor's Office of Film and Television. They told
us Mr. Rennert and his attorneys had called the Mayor's
Office to file a complaint.
Three days later, Ira Rennert went to court and sued
us. He got a judge to give him, unbeknownst to us,
a temporary restraining order prohibiting us from coming
within 150 feet of his Park Avenue home or his
Rockefeller Center office. If we did, we would be
Our sources within the New York City Police
Department told us that an order had come down
directly from the Mayor's Office "to immediately
arrest Michael Moore if he gets anywhere near
Rennert's office in Rockefeller Center ."
Then, on Nov. 12, we were informed by the Mayor's
Office that our show was being banned from shooting
on the streets of New York City until the matter with
Ira Rennert was "resolved."
I had never experienced such a blatant violation of our
First Amendment rights. Over the weekend we hired
one of the top First Amendment attorneys in the
country, Victor Kovner, and went on the offensive.
The New York media rallied to our side. Witnin 24
hours, Mayor Giuliani went in front of the TV cameras
and reversed himself. No one in NYC could remember
a time when Giuliani had backed down so quickly.
The following day, I headed off to Washington, DC to
shoot another piece of our "Washington Witch Hunt"
story that many of you may have heard of by now.
In October, I approached Ken Starr and offered him
a cheaper way to conduct an inquisition -- with a dozen
Puritans, a couple of stockades, and a whipping post.
Our Puritans chased Mr. Starr all the way down the
street. I'll bet most of America wanted to run with us as
we made the $40 Million Pervert tear off down the road.
So, last Thursday, as the impeachment hearings were
about to begin, I was outside the doors of the House
Judiciary Committee hearing room. I was there
shooting a staff memeber of ours dressed up as
Thomas Jefferson who was taunting the congressmen
to impeach HIM if they wanted to hear some really
salacious sex stories.
Suddenly, I saw the Congressman from Detroit, John
Conyers (a real hero), duck into a side door. I followed
after him with a "Hey, John." He turned and saw me
and ushered me in through a maze of hallways and back
rooms. Before I knew it, we walked right out into the
lights and onto the dais of the Judiciary Commitee.
"Just stand here," Conyers said with a wry smile as he
took his seat as the Committee's ranking Democrat 15
feet down the panel from me.
So, there I was, Michigan State ball cap and all, right
beside Congresswoman Lofgren. The audience and
the press gallery all started pointing at me as if
something really weird was about to happen. Tom
Brokaw and CNN wondered aloud on the air about
how the hell I got in there and what in God's name
was I going to do.
But my favorite moment was with Ken Starr. Minutes
before the opening gavel, he looked up and saw me,
that guy with his portable Puritan witch hunt, standing
there smiling at him. He glared at me. I threw him a
wink. He twitched. Hoping he was lip reader, I said,
"Put a fork in yourself -- you're over." He motioned to
an aide. Heads turned on the Republican side and
fingers pointed. Conyers could see what was about
to happen. He grabbed the "All Access" Gold Badge
off his aide and sent it down the row to me.
"Put it on!" he motioned to me. I snatched it and stuck
it on my coat. Whoever was being sent over by the
Republicans to have me escorted out was stopped
dead in his tracks. No one could touch me now. It
was like I had a force field around me. We should all
be so lucky as citizens who are forced to endure this
For the next three hours I stood next to Congresswomen
Lofgren with the big "S" on my cap (Starr? Sex Police?
All this ruckus -- and more -- will be part of "The Awful
Truth" beginning in April.
Meanwhile, I head back to court tomorrow morning to face
off with Rennert's attorneys. With the restraining order
in effect I personally can't go over to NBC to get archival
footage for our show, can't appear on Conan O'Brien,
can't attend the lighting of the Christmas tree next
week, can't stop by the parent company of the publisher
of Kathleen Glynn's and my new book, "Adventures in a
TV Nation," can't hold up a "Hi Mom!" sign in the "Today
Show" window, can't go ice skating on the Rockefeller
Center rink, can't go to Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral,
can't watch the Rockettes in the annual Christmas Show --
my God, I can barely breathe! Somebody open a window!
Somebody find a copy of the U.S. Constitution! Willard
Scott HELP ME THROUGH THE BARRICADES!!
Yours in temporary custody,