How Hollywood Mobilized Its Peace Forces


Richard Moore

Delivered-To: •••@••.•••
Date:         Sat, 22 Mar 2003 21:32:18 -0800
From:         Brant Downey <•••@••.•••>
Subject:      How Hollywood Mobilized Its Peace Forces 
              (San Francisco Chronicle)
To:           •••@••.•••

How Hollywood mobilized its peace forces
Hugh Hart, Special to The Chronicle, The San Francisco
Chronicle, Saturday, March 22, 2003, Page D1

Los Angeles -- On the desk of TV producer Robert
Greenwald's Culver City bungalow across the street
from Sony Studios lies a black leather phone book.
"That's Artists United to Win Without War right
there," Greenwald says.

Since forming the group last summer with actor Mike
Farrell, best known for his role in the television
series "MASH," Greenwald has used his Hollywood
connections to organize celebrities opposed to war.

While some celebrities, including Mira Sorvino, who
took part in a Los Angeles demonstration earlier this
month, have found their way independently to anti-war
activity, Artists United to Win Without War has been
instrumental in serving as a liaison between
Hollywood's creative community and anti-war groups.

When Jessica Lange and Ethan Hawke demonstrated at the
United Nations, it was Greenwald who helped hook them
up with the organizers of that rally. When Martin
Sheen, who appeared with demonstrators in San
Francisco earlier this month, endorsed the virtual
march on Washington sponsored by anti-war group Move
On, it was Greenwald and Farrell who videotaped Sheen
during a rehearsal break on the set of NBC's "The West

Artists United to Win Without War declared its
position in December, when the group held a press
conference after taking out a full-page advertisement
in the New York Times signed by nearly 100 celebrities
including Gillian Anderson, Kim Basinger, Matt Damon,
David Duchovny and Laurence Fishburne.

In the wake of the statement, in which Farrell and
Greenwald argued that Saddam Hussein could be disarmed
without a war, Kate McArdle, a former production
executive at USA Television, was brought in to handle
the media requests that began pouring in.

"We got barraged by press," she says. "They wanted to
know, would you be on a show, talk more about your
issues, tell us what you feel. It became this kind of
circular thing where the more the press gave us the
visibility, the more anti-war groups had ideas about
involving us in other activities."

If celebrities helped focus attention on anti-war
sentiment, they also provoked a backlash exacerbated
by talk radio commentators, cable news outlets and
online petitions like Citizens Against Celebrity

Farrell says objections to Hollywood anti-war activism
misses the point: "We've been clear over and over
again in saying that we are not experts. We are
citizens in a democracy who have gone out of our way
to become well informed about this. My objection to
the argument that celebrities should shut up because
they're only celebrities is, it gets away from the
message. Debate the message. I defy people to debate
what Mike Farrell or Janeane Garofalo or Anjelica
Huston or Jessica Lange have to say. That's what the
discussion should be about. These people are informed,
they're well read, they've been briefed, and I think
that's the debate we should have."

Referring to a recent Gallup poll, which seemed to
discount the influence of celebrities on political
discourse, Greenwald says, "In one sense we were
flattered because that poll was essentially in
response to the work we've done with our little group.

On the other hand, again, it was the wrong question.
The question was, would a celebrity change your
opinion. Of course not, we would hope not. The
question should have been, have you heard an anti-war
message because of celebrities. And that's where we've
had really extraordinary success, given that we did
this all out of our computers and our phone, with no

Farrell and Greenwald say it's now time to appraise
their group's next step.

"We're in uncharted territory," Greenwald says.
"There's no road map here, but we've begun discussions
about how we can make it clear that we support the
individual troops, but we're opposed to the harm's way
they're being put in. Over the next couple of days,
we'll put out some kind of statement. There will be
civil disobedience, and we will be supporting that in
different ways."

Adds Farrell, "People are going to frame the war,
particularly if it's a short war, as this great
victory, that they were right all along. We're going
to make it clear that the opposition is not going to
go away. We'll be working to articulate a vision of
the world where war is not the way to solve problems.

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