Disney and Michael Moore
By MICHAEL D. EISNER
To the Editor:
You accuse the Walt Disney Company of cowardice and censorship because of its decision a year ago not to distribute Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11" (editorial, May 6). In fact, the cowardly thing would have been to be intimidated into distributing the film. We did not block its distribution. There are many avenues for Mr. Moore to pursue to get his film distributed.
Your accusations of stifling free expression are misplaced. The First Amendment does not say that The New York Times must print every article presented to it or that the Walt Disney Company must distribute every movie. If a government entity had blocked Mr. Moore's film from being released, that would have violated the First Amendment, and we would have quickly signed up to join any protest.
In the case of "Fahrenheit 9/11," we chose a path that was right for the company and its stakeholders.
The creation of intellectual product rises and falls on similar judgments by creative people and executives across America. We would hope that The Times would recognize that the Walt Disney Company has the same right of freedom of expression that it is advocating for Mr. Moore.
MICHAEL D. EISNER
Chief Exec., Walt Disney Company
Burbank, Calif., May 7, 2004