The producers of controversial filmmaker Michael Moore’s new documentary Sicko are so concerned about the backlash against the movie they’ve hired a leading political strategist to help them battle US healthcare bosses. The film is a damning look at the US medical profession and producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein fear it will be savagely attacked when it hits cinemas, beginning with a showing at the Cannes Film Festival in France later this month (May 07). They’ve hired Chris Lehane, who was President Bill Clinton’s former lawyer and Al Gore’s one-time press secretary, to help them fight off negative publicity surrounding the new film.
And the backlash seems to have begun – Moore is being investigated by the U.S. Treasury after he allegedly broke a trade embargo with Cuba by travelling to the Caribbean island with a group of September 11th rescue workers. The stunt was part of the Oscar winner’s latest documentary Sicko, a critique of the health-care industry in America. He supposedly travelled with the 10 rescue workers, made ill from their efforts after the terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Center, in a bid to seek treatment for them. Moore this week (07May07) received a letter from The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, notifying him that it was conducting a civil investigation for possible violations of the trade embargo restricting travel to Cuba. It reads, “This office has no record that a specific license was issued authorizing you to engage in travel-related transactions involving Cuba.” Moore has reportedly arranged for the film to be held in a “safe house” outside the U.S. to protect if from government interference – ahead of its planned premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on 19 May.
I’m sure that we’ll be seeing any number of stories in the press discrediting Michael Moore in the coming weeks.