The lies told about the Weinstein-distributed film, “Philomena,” never stop. Steve Coogan, who did the screenplay adaptation, and is one of the producers, appeared on MSNBC today to discuss the movie.
Richard Liu, the host, said at one point, “And you’re talking about a group of girls and women, out-of-wedlock, having children in these institutions [homes run by nuns for troubled young women], and their children were taken away from them.”
This is a lie: the nuns did not walk the streets of Ireland seeking to rob kids from their mothers. In the case of Philomena, her father took her to the nuns to care for the baby she could not provide for.
Coogan replied to Liu that the home was “the only place that you could go to.” He is correct about this: no one was kidnapped—the women came to the nuns voluntarily. Moreover, the alternative was the street. Lucky for Philomena, her father placed her with the nuns—the same nuns who found her a job after her baby was born.
Coogan said these women were “effectively incarcerated against their will.” This is a lie: no one was “incarcerated”; Philomena did not live in a jail cell. The word “effectively” is interesting: either they were imprisoned or they were not. Coogan also says “their children were forcibly adopted.” This is another lie: Philomena signed a contract when she was 22. No one “forced” her to give up her baby.
Liu asks, “And then [the nuns] prevented [the women] from finding their children.” Coogan says that in Philomena’s case, “she was obstructed at every turn by both the government and the Church.” Two more lies: the Church didn’t stop anyone, and Philomena never set foot in the U.S. until last year; this was long after her son died of AIDS. Contrary to what the film contends, she never looked for her son in the U.S.
All of this is annotated in my report [click here].