Gerald Molen is a celebrated Oscar-winning producer with films on his resume that include Schindler's List, the first two Jurassic Park films, Rain Man, Minority Report, and Twister.
Despite the critical acclaim Molen has garnered over the years, Molen was rebuffed from speaking at a Montana high-school graduation because he is a right-wing conservative.
Gerald Molen believes that because of his conservative ideology Ronan High School principal Tom Stack decided to renege on an invitation extended to Molen to speak at the June graduation, after the producer drove 90 minutes from his home in Bigfork, Mont., according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The principal did not attempt to conceal the reason why he no longer wanted Molen at his school, according to the famous producer. Despite the fact Molen often invokes Oskar Schindler, who saved 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust and is the subject of Molen's Academy Award-winning film, the principal did not want to hear it.
He said some callers didn't want the kids exposed to that, despite not knowing what my message would be, Molen, a self-described independent who leans conservative, told THR.
According to THR, Molen planned, in fact, to use Schindler as an exemplar of what courage could help one accomplish. The cornerstone of his speech was going to be the inquiry: Imagine your future is a movie. Forty years from now, you're writing a script about your accomplishments. What would that script look like?
It was a totally apolitical speech, Molen added.
Molen has spoken at several schools and never accepts a fee for his appearances, according to THR. When a fee is offered, he asks that the money be donated to the Shoah Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Steven Spielberg in remembrance of the Holocaust.
Protesters of the principal's act in banning Molen have attempted to contact the school. Some want another invitation extended to the producer. One email to the Montana school that was made public read: I would like to know the process and people who canceled Gerald R. Molen's talk to the Ronan Senior Class. I would like to also have a list of other speakers who have addressed the high school in the past five years.
On Friday, the Ronan district superintendent of schools, Andy Holmlund, responded to THR regarding the ban.
It is my understanding that the high-school principal made the decision based on his point of view. It is not the view of the district, said Holmlund. That's not the expectations that the district maintains. That principal will not be serving in this school district for the upcoming school year.
Adding that the public's response to the issue has been intense, Holmlund said: Oh, it's on fire, sir. Justifiably so. We don't expect people to be treated poorly.
Gerald Molen's ban from the high-school graduation comes before the release of a documentary about President Barack Obama, titled 2016, based on the Dinesh D'Souza book, The Roots of Obama's Rage. It's not really a negative take on Obama because both sides are looked at by Dinesh, Molen wrote for THR. The movie isn't out there saying you should vote one way or the other; it's just the truth, a lot of it from Obama's own words.
Montana is not the first place Molen has encountered backlash due to his political ideals. He has faced a similar response in Hollywood itself.
I don't know why Hollywood is so monolithic in its liberal politics now, wrote Molen. When I first started in the business, some of the bigger names in Hollywood on the right, like John Wayne and Bob Hope, weren't afraid to exhibit their political stripes.
In contrast, Molen noted: Today, those on the right have a tendency to hide their politics because the left is vindictive. I guess it has hurt some of them in the past, or they wouldn't hide. All of a sudden, if you disagreed with someone, they'd intimate you're a racist or intolerant of some people. It's a lot of hogwash. I've never tolerated racism, so if I'm accused of it, I'm offended. I think it's a tactic to shut people up.
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