Tag Archives: director

The late great Sam Simon

By Ingrid Newkirk

There’s a black ribbon hanging outside PETA’s Sam Simon Center in Norfolk, Virginia, this week, and a group of sad people inside it. The building’s namesake—TV producer, writer and director Sam Simon—beat the odds: He lived two whole years past the few months his doctor gave him when he was first diagnosed with terminal colon cancer in 2012. He spent those years living life to the fullest—and helping animals live life to the fullest, too.

Shortly after being diagnosed, Sam asked me to come to the hospital to help him draw up a “bucket list” of ways in which he could help animals.

I had first met Sam back in 2002 when he donated his fee for directing an episode of The Drew Carey Show to PETA because the plot involved greyhound racing and he felt that he could not in good conscience keep the money. He was funny and kind and didn’t mince words if he thought children or animals were being abused.

Sam’s first order of business was to work with PETA to close two dismal, dungeon-like concrete bear pits in North Carolina and Georgia and send the bears to a sanctuary. Despite being gravely ill, he personally traveled to the sanctuary to let the bears out of their transport cages and watched them gallop through the grass for the first time in years with a wide little-boy grin on his face. “I just wanted to have some days where I get to see animals walk in grass for the first time,” he said. “Through PETA, we rescue animals in roadside zoos and circuses. They are some of the most abused animals in the country.”

But Sam was just getting started. During the next two years, which he called the happiest of his life, he helped PETA rescue hundreds of animals, including two chimpanzees who had been held in solitary confinement in cramped, barren cages at (separate) roadside zoos. Sam paid to send them to a spacious tropical sanctuary, where they can now interact with others of their own kind for the first time in decades, climb on “jungle gyms,” lounge under palm trees and do other things that chimpanzees love to do.

He paid to transport Sunder—an elephant who had been chained by all four legs at a temple in India for seven years—to a 122-acre sanctuary, and he paid to build a new fence around it so that Sunder and the other elephants could roam freely 24 hours a day. He purchased an injured racehorse, saving him from a catastrophic breakdown. He bought more than 400 chinchillas from a California breeder, saving them from electrocution and shutting the fur farm down. As he walked through the facility’s cramped rows of cages, Sam whispered to the chinchillas, “This is your last day of abuse. This is your first day of freedom.”

An outspoken opponent of the cruelty that occurs in circuses and marine parks, Sam lived to see the tide of public opinion turn against SeaWorld after the release of the riveting documentary Blackfish. And the last piece of good news he received was that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which he had protested in person, had vowed to take performing elephants off the road by 2018.

A longtime vegan, he set up his own charity, The Sam Simon Foundation, to provide homeless people with vegan meals as well as to sponsor spay and neuter surgeries in low-income areas of Los Angeles. The foundation also rescues dogs from shelters and trains them to assist deaf people and war veterans who suffer from physical and mental trauma.

Funny to the last, Sam was a fabulous friend to all living beings, from children in Nepal to veterans in America to animals the world over. May he rest in peace.

Ingrid Newkirk is the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510; www.PETA.org.

Throw a “Capitalism: A Love Story” house party! This weekend 1,000 to be held across the nation!

Friends,

This weekend over a thousand homes across America will be hosting viewing parties of my latest film, “Capitalism: A Love Story.” I’d like to invite you to be part of this great shared event. And I will be there live, over the phone, at many of them to talk to you and take your questions.

MoveOn.org is launching a huge new campaign to take back democracy from the corporations and lobbyists. And I’m thrilled that they’ve decided to kick it off by bringing people together to watch my film.

Here’s all you have to do to become an official host of a “Capitalism” House Party or attend an existing one:

Go to MoveOn.org and they will explain it all. It’s quite simple. Invite a bunch of friends, family or neighbors over to your home to watch “Capitalism: A Love Story” (or RSVP for an existing party). Continue reading Throw a “Capitalism: A Love Story” house party! This weekend 1,000 to be held across the nation!

President Obama: Replace Rahm Emanuel with me!

By film maker Michael Moore

Dear President Obama,

I understand you may be looking to replace Rahm Emanuel as your chief of staff.

I would like to humbly offer myself, yours truly, as his replacement.

I will come to D.C. and clean up the mess that’s been created around you. I will work for $1 a year. I will help the Dems on Capitol Hill find their spines and I will teach them how to nonviolently beat the Republicans to a pulp.

And I will help you get done what the American people sent you there to do. I don’t need much, just a cot in the White House basement will do. Continue reading President Obama: Replace Rahm Emanuel with me!

An open letter to President Obama

By film maker Michael Moore

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dear President Obama,

Do you really want to be the new “war president”? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do — destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they’ve always heard is true — that all politicians are alike. I simply can’t believe you’re about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn’t so.

It is not your job to do what the generals tell you to do. We are a civilian-run government. WE tell the Joint Chiefs what to do, not the other way around. That’s the way General Washington insisted it must be. That’s what President Truman told General MacArthur when MacArthur wanted to invade China. “You’re fired!,” said Truman, and that was that. And you should have fired Gen. McChrystal when he went to the press to preempt you, telling the press what YOU had to do. Let me be blunt: We love our kids in the armed services Continue reading An open letter to President Obama

“Capitalism: A Love Story” opens today in Worcester!

An invitation from director Michael Moore

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friends,

For two months, we’ve sat and watched the rabid right achieve the unimaginable: Derail universal health care and send the Democrats in Congress running for cover. Many have asked, “How did this happen? How could a small minority of angry people control the public agenda? Where is the majority’s response? Why the silence?”

I don’t have the answers to all these questions. But I do know this: I’ve had enough. As far as I’m concerned, Tea Bag Nation ends today — at noon to be precise. For that’s when I set loose, on a thousand screens across this great land, a movie I’ve made that’s so relentless, so dangerous, so damning in its humor, that it will — I can only hope — do what no movie has done before: Take them down, take them all down, once and for all. Continue reading “Capitalism: A Love Story” opens today in Worcester!

Brand new trailer for Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story”

It’s here! Check out the brand new trailer for Michael Moore’s ‘Capitalism: A Love Story.’

Mike is premiering the film at the oldest film festival in the world, the Venice International Film Festival.

Next he heads to the Toronto International Film Festival where ‘Roger & Me’ won the festival’s People’s Choice award 20 years ago.

‘Capitalism: A Love Story’ opens nationwide October 2nd.

Can’t wait for you to see it!

Goodbye, GM

By Michael Moore

June 1, 2009

I write this on the morning of the end of the once-mighty General Motors. By high noon, the President of the United States will have made it official: General Motors, as we know it, has been totaled.

As I sit here in GM’s birthplace, Flint, Michigan, I am surrounded by friends and family who are filled with anxiety about what will happen to them and to the town. Forty percent of the homes and businesses in the city have been abandoned. Imagine what it would be like if you lived in a city where almost every other house is empty. What would be your state of mind?

It is with sad irony that the company which invented “planned obsolescence” — the decision to build cars that would fall apart after a few years so that the customer would then have to buy a new one — has now made itself obsolete. It refused to build automobiles that the public wanted, cars that got great gas mileage, were as safe as they could be, and were exceedingly comfortable to drive. Oh — and that wouldn’t start falling apart after two years. GM stubbornly fought environmental and safety regulations. Its executives arrogantly ignored the “inferior” Japanese and German cars, cars which would become the gold standard for automobile buyers. And it was hell-bent on punishing its unionized workforce, lopping off thousands of workers for no good reason other than to “improve” the short-term bottom line of the corporation. Continue reading Goodbye, GM

“We the People” to “King of the World”: “YOU’RE FIRED!”

By Michael Moore

Nothing like it has ever happened. The President of the United States, the elected representative of the people, has told the head of General Motors — a company that’s spent more years at #1 on the Fortune 500 list than anyone else — “You’re fired!”

I simply can’t believe it. This stunning, unprecedented action has left me speechless. I keep saying, “Did Obama really fire the chairman of General Motors? The wealthiest and most powerful corporation of the 20th century? Can he do that? Really? Well, damn! What else can he do?!”
This bold move has sent the heads of corporate America spinning and spewing pea soup. Obama has issued this edict: The government of, by, and for the people is in charge here, not big business. John McCain got it. On the floor of the Senate he asked, “What does this signal send to other corporations and financial institutions about whether the federal government will fire them as well?” Continue reading “We the People” to “King of the World”: “YOU’RE FIRED!”