MORE PRESSURE PUT ON DISNEY
Catalyst November Issue 2002
The Catholic League continued its protest of the movie, “The Magdalene Sisters,” by sending a copy of a letter written by William Donohue to every member of the Disney board of directors. Miramax, owned by Disney, is releasing the anti-Catholic film to Americans soon. It recently was featured at the New York Film Festival.
When the Disney board met in Burbank, California on September 24, its members were in possession of the Donohue letter. A copy of the letter is printed below.
As president of the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization, I implore you to discuss at Tuesday’s meeting of Disney’s board of directors the future of the Disney/Miramax relationship. The immediate cause for concern is the recent Miramax acquisition of a notoriously anti-Catholic film, “The Magdalene Sisters.” The larger concern is the anti-Catholic track record of Miramax.
Since the mid-1990s, Miramax has been associated with four Catholic-bashing movies: “Priest”; “Butcher Boy”; “Dogma”; and “40 Days and 40 Nights.” Now it has added a fifth, “The Magdalene Sisters.” As you might expect, quite a few of the nation’s 63 million Catholics are wondering why Miramax is prepared to assault our sensibilities one more time.
The Vatican understandably blasted “The Magdalene Sisters” for a gross distortion of history. The film purports to show how nuns cruelly dealt with wayward young women in Catholic institutions in the 19th and 20th centuries. No doubt by today’s standards, those conditions were harsh. But what is the purpose of maligning nuns, most of whom gave of themselves selflessly to care for and empower these women—women whom society had cast as pariahs? Perhaps the best answer comes from the film’s director, Peter Mullan.
Mullan has compared the Catholic Church to the murderous Taliban. He has said of the movie that it “encapsulates everything that is bad about the Catholic Church,” etc.
You know as well as I do that Disney/Miramax would never be associated with a film that encapsulated everything that is bad about Judaism or Islam. You also know as well as I do that Disney/Miramax has no track record of offending Jews and Muslims. This begs the question: why is Disney/Miramax bent on offending Catholics?
We will not give up on our protest of Disney’s relationship with Miramax until Disney’s board of directors severs its ties altogether. That is what I am requesting of you on Tuesday.
Thank you for your consideration.
William A. Donohue, Ph.D.