Trascript for ĎScarborough Countryí for May 20, 2003
Now, in our final follow-up tonight: an update on the saga of Hollywood celebrities who say they are facing a backlash from a very angry public for their views. Hollywood people are now saying theyíve been blacklisted by Americans who disagree with their politics. And they are crying censorship.
Our friend Danny Glover recently told ďThe Washington PostĒ-quote -
Ē ďThe whole idea is to crush any kind of dissent. Something is happening now that is very dark and very sinister in this country. And for us not to admit itís happening is, in some ways, for us to be blind.Ē
With me now from Burbank, California, is actor Mike Farrell. And, also, from the NBC News bureau in Washington, D.C., is Tom Fitton. He is president of Judicial Watch.
Thank you, gentlemen, for being with me tonight.
Mike, let me begin with you.
Do you think-and, again, looking at what Danny Glover has said, that itís very dark and sinister, do you think something is very dark and very sinister for people in Hollywood or in Washington to be called on the carpet for statements that they make that are out of the mainstream with the majority of Americans?
MIKE FARRELL, ACTOR: Well, first of all, I donít think itís the American public that is objecting. I think that when people are exercising their right to free speech, as has been the case in this instance, and organized right-wing groups attempt to sabotage either their careers or their personal public profiles, I think that is a suggestion that there is an attempt to do something to stifle dissent. And that is really whatís at issue here.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Mike, is it sabotaging Danny Gloverís career? Really, not his career. He is a movie star. People are going to still go see this guy. But whatís wrong with, whether itís the right wing or the left wing, saying, hey, this is what Danny Glover said? He said George Bush is a racist. He compared 9/11 to American troops. What is wrong with that? Whatís sinister with that? Isnít that free speech?
FARRELL: Of course. Nobody has any objection to people disagreeing and everybody has the right to agree and/or disagree. And I donít know-when you take statements out of context, I am not quite sure what was in fact said.
But the fact is that there is an organized attempt to stifle free speech in this country. And I think itís interesting that they attack celebrities, only because they get more press that way, when in fact there were people in the military, people in politics, former ambassadors, any number of people who were disagreeing with the war policy of this administration, but they are not the ones that are being attacked. I think the idea...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Iíve got to tell you...
FARRELL: If you will let me finish my statement, I think the idea is to punish...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, how long is your statement?
FARRELL: How long would you like me to talk? I can go on for quite some time.
SCARBOROUGH: I bet you can.
FARRELL: I see that you have a habit of butting in. And I would just like to finish what I was about to say.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. Finish.
TOM FITTON, JUDICIAL WATCH: Can I butt in?
FARRELL: The fact is that-you do that quite regularly.
I think that the fact that these people are trying to punish celebrities is just a way for them to try to very publicly stifle free speech. And I donít think it works.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, Tom, now weíll go to you, give you time to talk.
Do you believe that this is censorship? Do you believe that this is blacklisting?
FITTON: Well, no, it isnít, obviously.
Danny Glover most recently signed on to a letter supporting Fidel Castroís Cuba, even after Castro put 75 dissidents away into dungeons and summarily executed three black Cubans who were trying to flee his country. And then Danny Glover signs a letter criticizing those who criticize Castro and suggesting that Castro ought to be left alone, talking about self-determination.
And now MCI has Glover as a spokesman. And Judicial Watch is calling for a boycott of MCI, telling MCI ought to fire Glover. Glover wants to participate in the public policy process, but he doesnít want to be held accountable for what he says. And when you have an actor or a corporate spokesman making supportive comments for a murderous dictatorship that not only murders Americans, but its own people in large numbers, I think you have got a real problem.
We are not criticizing Glover because he is in favor of higher taxes or increased federal spending in education. This is an issue of his being on the wrong side. And he is on the side of a totalitarian.
And we have every right in the world, Mr. Farrell, to criticize him and to exercise our free speech rights.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, I hate to interrupt you. I got to do it, though.
Hey, Mike, I want to read you something that Franceís Brigitte Bardot just published in a book.
FARRELL: Can I respond, before you do that, to the hyperbole that was just issued over your television station?
FITTON: Is Fidel Castro not a terroristic murderer?
FARRELL: And Danny Glover did not defend Fidel Castro.
FITTON: Yes, he did. You can read his letter.
FARRELL: No, he did not, nor did he defend Fidel Castroís imprisonment and the egregious sentences that were issued against those people.
What he was saying was that the people of Cuba have a right to determine for themselves who will their leaders be and the United States should not invade that country.
SCARBOROUGH: Mike, we have less an minute.
FARRELL: Iím sorry.
SCARBOROUGH: I want to read you something very quickly that Brigitte Bardot just published in a book attacking all sorts of groups, including gays, the unemployed, and artists.
And hereís what she said about Muslims-quote-ĒI do not hold religious Muslims in high esteem. We were disturbed by their barbaric practices; we went to court; we condemned their unacceptable behavior, which left homes covered in blood, to no avail.Ē
Now, I am sure thatís offensive to you that she calls all Muslims-paints with that brush for Muslims and attacks gays. Donít you think-if Brigitte Bardot were endorsing a product out there, donít you think that people of America would have a right to hear that and not buy that product if they were offended by it?
FARRELL: I would just keep from buying her book.
And so weíll just stop buying MCI service if Danny Glover is pushing it. Isnít that fair?
FARRELL: Which is the point, I think, of this whole program. And I find it offensive. The idea that Danny should be punished, his career should be infringed upon because...
FARRELL: Oh, Iím sorry. Weíre going to be cutting me
SCARBOROUGH: Well, weíve got three seconds before the show ends-one second.
Thanks for being with us. Good night.
FARRELL: Yes. Youíre welcome.