On April 7, Miramax announced that their co-chairmen, Bob and Harvey Weinstein, will personally buy the film rights for “Dogma” and will look for a new distributor for the film. Miramax is owned by Disney.
In a letter dated July 17, 1998, Catholic League president William Donohue wrote to Disney CEO Michael Eisner regarding the film. “From what I have learned,” he said, “it looks as though Catholic sensibilities will be offended once again. Perhaps it is not too late for something to be done about this.” Donohue requested a meeting with the Disney chief, but Eisner never replied.
Donohue, who has read the script, announced the Catholic League’s new position today:
“Michael Eisner made the right move to dump ‘Dogma.’ As a result, the Catholic League will not target Disney. But the Weinstein brothers, and writer/director Kevin Smith, are another story.
“Smith says the movie is ‘intended as a love letter to both faith and God almighty.’ But in the movie, Joseph and Mary have sex and a descendant of theirs is a lapsed Catholic who works at an abortion clinic; it is said of Mary that ‘Believing a wife never humped her husband—that’s just gullibility’; God is played by a singer known for her nude videos and songs about oral sex; the 13th apostle resembles Howard Stern; the Mass is compared to lousy sex. This sounds more like hate mail than a love letter. Ben Affleck, who stars in the movie, was more honest: ‘these things, definitely, are meant to push buttons.’
“The Catholic League has a few buttons of its own to push, and we will not hold back. In 1995, we dealt successfully with the Miramax movie, ‘Priest,’ and just last year we crushed the Disney/ABC show ‘Nothing Sacred.’ Now we’ll tackle ‘Dogma.’ One thing’s for sure—Eisner is a lot brighter than the Weinsteins.”