SLU Pundit

The weblog of Kevin Boyd, a student at Southeastern Louisiana University

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Moore lies....again has a story about how Michael Moore has spreading lies about Pete Townshend. Townshend, former guitarist of The Who, was approached by Michael Moore about using one of his songs, "Won't get fooled again" in Fahrenheit 9/11. According to

The rocker [Townshend] recently posted a letter on his Web site asserting that he is upset with Moore for making false claims about him. "He says — among other things — that I refused to allow him to use my song 'Won't Get Fooled Again' in ['Fahrenheit 9/11'] because I support the war, and that at the last minute I recanted but he turned me down," Townshend wrote

What were Moore's alleged false claims?

In the July/August issue of Film Comment, Michael Moore is quoted as saying that the moment following President Bush's final line in the film "demands that we hear [Who frontman] Roger Daltrey scream, 'Won't get fooled again!' " Moore goes on to say that Townshend blocked his use of the classic song because he is "not a fan of Michael Moore's and in fact supports the war and supports Tony Blair and doesn't want the song used in any way that would make Blair look bad."

Townshend responds:

The Who guitarist explained in his post that he was initially supportive of the war but is now "less sure we did the right thing."

Townshend wrote that when he was approached about lending his song to the film, he knew nothing of the content of "Fahrenheit 9/11," but that his publisher informed him that Moore had already been turned down because Miramax's offer was "well below what the song normally commands for use in a movie." Townshend said he did not ask for more money.

According to Townshend, Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein became personally involved in explaining the film's content to Townshend's manager, Bill Curbishley, and offered to raise his offer "substantially" for the song's use. Townshend told his manager that he had "not really been convinced" by Moore's last documentary, "Bowling for Columbine," and saw it as "a bullying film."

The musician said he felt "Won't Get Fooled Again," "not an unconditionally anti-war song," was not right for the film, and that he suggested to his publisher and manager that Moore approach Neil Young, whose catalog, he felt, included more appropriate tracks.

So Townshend thought Moore lied about Bowling for Columbine and Miramax was being cheap.

But Moore says Townshend changed his mind and started begging him to reconsider.

In fact, after Cannes, we got a call from their manager, who said they might be willing to reconsider. And I said, 'No, uh-uh. That's bad karma. This is Neil Young's moment.' "

And Moore says he's a victim of The Who because:

"Last year," he said in the statement, "the Who asked me to do a documentary on their career. I was sorry I had to tell them that due to my need to finish 'Fahrenheit 9/11' I would not be able to make their film for them. ... I am sorry I wasn't able to do the Who documentary like they wanted me to, but this is certainly no way for Pete to show his anger, and frankly it is very embarrassing for him to behave in this manner, as he is the greatest rock star who ever lived."

Who to believe, Townshend or Michael Moore


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