Dec 04, 2020
Visit our sister site:

Front Page, Industry News

Spielberg pulls out of Olympics

Steven Spielberg has decided not to participate in this summer’s Beijing Olympic Games as an artistic adviser, citing China’s lack of progress in resolving the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

His move is a public relations blow to the Chinese government, which is under pressure to force the government of Sudan to resolve the crisis in Darfur.

Spielberg’s worldwide profile could lead others involved in the Games to pull out and even lead sponsors to reconsider their roles in the event.

As the biggest customer for Sudan’s oil, China has been the target of Darfur advocates for the better part of a year, much to the dismay of Chinese officials who have complained that the Games were being politicized.

"I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue with business as usual," Spielberg said. "At this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies but doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Darfur."

Spielberg was to join a team led by Chinese director Zhang Yimou, but outside of a visit to Beijing a year ago, he had done little work on the event. He even noted in his statement that he has yet to sign a contract that the Beijing Organizing Committee sent to him a year ago.

"Sudan’s government bears the bulk of the responsibility for these ongoing crimes, but the international community, and particularly China, should be doing more to end the continuing suffering there," Spielberg said in his statement. "China’s economic, military and diplomatic ties to the government of Sudan continue to provide it with the opportunity and obligation to press for change."

Spielberg’s role in the Olympics has been in doubt since last spring, when he sent a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao urging greater action in Darfur. He did not threaten to end his involvement in the Games, but observers implied that would be an option.

At the time, Darfur activists, including actress Mia Farrow, were urging Spielberg to reconsider his role in the Games, even though the director’s reps say that his letter to Hu was unrelated to their criticism.

In March, Farrow and her son Ronan wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal questioning why the director was participating in the Games, which they have termed the "genocide Olympics."

Farrow, a goodwill ambassador for Unicef, warned that Spielberg risked becoming the "Leni Reifenstahl" of the Games – a reference to the German filmmaker whose images of the 1936 Berlin Olympics amounted to Nazi propaganda.

In the ensuing months, Spielberg and his political rep, Andy Spahn, continued to press Chinese officials; they were encouraged when China agreed to deploy a special envoy to Sudan and then dropped its opposition to a U.N. Security Council resolution to send peacekeepers to stop the genocide.

In September, Spielberg left the set of the latest "Indiana Jones" movie to meet in New York with the envoy and the Chinese ambassador. "We certainly had the sense they were going to engage Sudan behind the scenes to end the violence," said Spahn, who was also present at the meeting.

"But the only thing we have to judge by are the conditions on the ground, which continue to deteriorate," Spahn added.

Spahn said that they continued to follow up with Chinese officials, and even met again with them several weeks ago in Los Angeles. But Sudan has continued to resist allowing a peacekeeping force into the country.

"The situation has never been more precarious – and while China’s representatives have conveyed to me that they are working to end the terrible tragedy in Darfur, the grim realities of the suffering continue unabated," Spielberg said.

Spielberg has for some time made contributions to Darfur activist groups and has been working with such industry names as George Clooney and Don Cheadle, as well as the Save Darfur Coalition.

Farrow said that she "couldn’t be happier at a more hopeless moment." She also predicted that sponsors and supporters of the Games would follow in pressuring the Chinese government.

"This is exactly what China didn’t want – they don’t want their games sullied," she said. "No spitting on the ground, no chewing gum, and now the most famous director in the world has said he can’t participate in their Olympics as a matter of conscience. This is huge. It is a defining moment for China. China and China alone has the power to influence Khartoum."

Spielberg did say he still hopes to attend the Games. "It is also my great hope that, with renewed and intensified efforts from China, there will be peace and security in Darfur at last," he said.

Source: Variety

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

Spielberg pulls out of Olympics

Steven Spielberg has decided not to participate in this summer’s Beijing Olympic Games as an artistic adviser, citing China’s lack of progress in resolving the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

His move is a public relations blow to the Chinese government, which is under pressure to force the government of Sudan to resolve the crisis in Darfur.

Spielberg’s worldwide profile could lead others involved in the Games to pull out and even lead sponsors to reconsider their roles in the event.

As the biggest customer for Sudan’s oil, China has been the target of Darfur advocates for the better part of a year, much to the dismay of Chinese officials who have complained that the Games were being politicized.

"I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue with business as usual," Spielberg said. "At this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies but doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Darfur."

Spielberg was to join a team led by Chinese director Zhang Yimou, but outside of a visit to Beijing a year ago, he had done little work on the event. He even noted in his statement that he has yet to sign a contract that the Beijing Organizing Committee sent to him a year ago.

"Sudan’s government bears the bulk of the responsibility for these ongoing crimes, but the international community, and particularly China, should be doing more to end the continuing suffering there," Spielberg said in his statement. "China’s economic, military and diplomatic ties to the government of Sudan continue to provide it with the opportunity and obligation to press for change."

Spielberg’s role in the Olympics has been in doubt since last spring, when he sent a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao urging greater action in Darfur. He did not threaten to end his involvement in the Games, but observers implied that would be an option.

At the time, Darfur activists, including actress Mia Farrow, were urging Spielberg to reconsider his role in the Games, even though the director’s reps say that his letter to Hu was unrelated to their criticism.

In March, Farrow and her son Ronan wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal questioning why the director was participating in the Games, which they have termed the "genocide Olympics."

Farrow, a goodwill ambassador for Unicef, warned that Spielberg risked becoming the "Leni Reifenstahl" of the Games – a reference to the German filmmaker whose images of the 1936 Berlin Olympics amounted to Nazi propaganda.

In the ensuing months, Spielberg and his political rep, Andy Spahn, continued to press Chinese officials; they were encouraged when China agreed to deploy a special envoy to Sudan and then dropped its opposition to a U.N. Security Council resolution to send peacekeepers to stop the genocide.

In September, Spielberg left the set of the latest "Indiana Jones" movie to meet in New York with the envoy and the Chinese ambassador. "We certainly had the sense they were going to engage Sudan behind the scenes to end the violence," said Spahn, who was also present at the meeting.

"But the only thing we have to judge by are the conditions on the ground, which continue to deteriorate," Spahn added.

Spahn said that they continued to follow up with Chinese officials, and even met again with them several weeks ago in Los Angeles. But Sudan has continued to resist allowing a peacekeeping force into the country.

"The situation has never been more precarious – and while China’s representatives have conveyed to me that they are working to end the terrible tragedy in Darfur, the grim realities of the suffering continue unabated," Spielberg said.

Spielberg has for some time made contributions to Darfur activist groups and has been working with such industry names as George Clooney and Don Cheadle, as well as the Save Darfur Coalition.

Farrow said that she "couldn’t be happier at a more hopeless moment." She also predicted that sponsors and supporters of the Games would follow in pressuring the Chinese government.

"This is exactly what China didn’t want – they don’t want their games sullied," she said. "No spitting on the ground, no chewing gum, and now the most famous director in the world has said he can’t participate in their Olympics as a matter of conscience. This is huge. It is a defining moment for China. China and China alone has the power to influence Khartoum."

Spielberg did say he still hopes to attend the Games. "It is also my great hope that, with renewed and intensified efforts from China, there will be peace and security in Darfur at last," he said.

Source: Variety

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

Spielberg pulls out of Olympics

Steven Spielberg has decided not to participate in this summer’s Beijing Olympic Games as an artistic adviser, citing China’s lack of progress in resolving the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

His move is a public relations blow to the Chinese government, which is under pressure to force the government of Sudan to resolve the crisis in Darfur.

Spielberg’s worldwide profile could lead others involved in the Games to pull out and even lead sponsors to reconsider their roles in the event.

As the biggest customer for Sudan’s oil, China has been the target of Darfur advocates for the better part of a year, much to the dismay of Chinese officials who have complained that the Games were being politicized.

"I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue with business as usual," Spielberg said. "At this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies but doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Darfur."

Spielberg was to join a team led by Chinese director Zhang Yimou, but outside of a visit to Beijing a year ago, he had done little work on the event. He even noted in his statement that he has yet to sign a contract that the Beijing Organizing Committee sent to him a year ago.

"Sudan’s government bears the bulk of the responsibility for these ongoing crimes, but the international community, and particularly China, should be doing more to end the continuing suffering there," Spielberg said in his statement. "China’s economic, military and diplomatic ties to the government of Sudan continue to provide it with the opportunity and obligation to press for change."

Spielberg’s role in the Olympics has been in doubt since last spring, when he sent a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao urging greater action in Darfur. He did not threaten to end his involvement in the Games, but observers implied that would be an option.

At the time, Darfur activists, including actress Mia Farrow, were urging Spielberg to reconsider his role in the Games, even though the director’s reps say that his letter to Hu was unrelated to their criticism.

In March, Farrow and her son Ronan wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal questioning why the director was participating in the Games, which they have termed the "genocide Olympics."

Farrow, a goodwill ambassador for Unicef, warned that Spielberg risked becoming the "Leni Reifenstahl" of the Games – a reference to the German filmmaker whose images of the 1936 Berlin Olympics amounted to Nazi propaganda.

In the ensuing months, Spielberg and his political rep, Andy Spahn, continued to press Chinese officials; they were encouraged when China agreed to deploy a special envoy to Sudan and then dropped its opposition to a U.N. Security Council resolution to send peacekeepers to stop the genocide.

In September, Spielberg left the set of the latest "Indiana Jones" movie to meet in New York with the envoy and the Chinese ambassador. "We certainly had the sense they were going to engage Sudan behind the scenes to end the violence," said Spahn, who was also present at the meeting.

"But the only thing we have to judge by are the conditions on the ground, which continue to deteriorate," Spahn added.

Spahn said that they continued to follow up with Chinese officials, and even met again with them several weeks ago in Los Angeles. But Sudan has continued to resist allowing a peacekeeping force into the country.

"The situation has never been more precarious – and while China’s representatives have conveyed to me that they are working to end the terrible tragedy in Darfur, the grim realities of the suffering continue unabated," Spielberg said.

Spielberg has for some time made contributions to Darfur activist groups and has been working with such industry names as George Clooney and Don Cheadle, as well as the Save Darfur Coalition.

Farrow said that she "couldn’t be happier at a more hopeless moment." She also predicted that sponsors and supporters of the Games would follow in pressuring the Chinese government.

"This is exactly what China didn’t want – they don’t want their games sullied," she said. "No spitting on the ground, no chewing gum, and now the most famous director in the world has said he can’t participate in their Olympics as a matter of conscience. This is huge. It is a defining moment for China. China and China alone has the power to influence Khartoum."

Spielberg did say he still hopes to attend the Games. "It is also my great hope that, with renewed and intensified efforts from China, there will be peace and security in Darfur at last," he said.

Source: Variety

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisements