Disney nixes anti-Bush documentary

MUMBAI: The Walt Disney Company has shown the red card to director Michael Moore's controversial documentary that criticises US president George Bush. The company has asked its Miramax Films unit not to release the documentary on the 11 September attacks, titled Fahrenheit 9/11.

The film focuses on how the White House responded to the hijacking attacks and on ties between the Bush family and prominent Saudis.

A Disney spokeswoman called the timing of Moore's statement a publicity stunt ahead of the film's debut at the Cannes film festival in France later this month. According to Disney, Moore's agent had been conveyed this decision a year ago. At the same time, Moore claimed that he was told of the decision only a day ago."Yesterday, I was told that Disney, the studio that owns Miramax, has officially decided to prohibit our producer, Miramax, from distributing my new film," Moore said in a letter posted on his Web site.

The new developments have once again underlined the stormy relationship between Disney Chief Executive Michael Eisner and Miramax head Harvey Weinstein. Over the years, Weinstein and Eisner have clashed on various topics dealing with Miramax and its movies and Miramax releases like "Dogma" have generated controversy before, says reports.

Moore's Los Angeles-based agent, Ari Emanuel, told the New York Times Eisner had asked him not to sell the film to Miramax because it might jeopardize tax incentives Disney receives for its Walt Disney World theme park in Florida. The state's governor, Jeb Bush, is the president's brother.

But Eisner has categorically denied such allegations, calling them "ridiculous".

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