Michael Moore, the famous documentarian and political activist, is no stranger to controversy. Moore is the mastermind behind such films as Sicko, Fahrenheit 9/11, and Bowling for Columbine, just to name a few. Moore’s films predominantly focus on corrupt politicians and greedy big-business corporations; a tactic that proves that his pen is mightier than his sword.
Recently, there have been allegations that Moore has requested the release of graphic photographs that were taken after the Sandy Hook elementary shooting; allegations that Moore vehemently denies. Parents of the victims have launched an online petition chastising Moore and are calling for new legislation to be put into place that would keep the photos from ever being released to the public.
Moore, a staunch and vocal liberal, has claimed that a Fox News (a conservative “news” conglomerate) reporter is trying to “stir the pot” by making these erroneous claims. Sandy Hook elementary is located in Newton, Connecticut and was the victim of a shooting spree on December 14, 2012. Twenty children and six adults lost their lives as a result of Adam Lanza’s murderous rage. In the after math of this tragedy, many Americans are calling for stricter gun control legislation be put in place.
Moore wrote a blog for The Huffington Post suggesting that releasing those photos may help American citizens realize that gun control is an important national issue, one that cannot, and should not, be ignored. This logic was based on the success of historic evidence shifting the American view of race issues in the 1950s.
Here is Moore’s explanation for said suggestion:
"I never said that I was going to release any photos, nor do I have any intention to. And frankly, I’m opposed to anybody releasing any photos without the parents’ permission," he informed the Hollywood Reporter "In this day of internet and social media … I was just saying that that’s what will happen, and I ask that Americans not turn away from it. And the example I gave was how Emmett Till’s mother, back in 1955 when he was tortured and then killed by the Ku Klux Klan, released the photos of his body to show what the Klan had done to him. It ignited the country and four months later, Rosa Parks sat down on the bus.
"It had a cause and effect when a mother chose to do that. But that’s the only way that should be done – when the parent decides whatever they want to do to let people know just what happens to a child when 11 bullets from a high-powered rifle at close range are fired into their bodies."
Again, Moore cites Fox News as the crux of the problem and for blowing the entire situation way out of proportion:
"Fox News got one person up in Newtown to go on the record, and that person, with Fox News, tried to stir the pot and create a news story that didn’t exist," he said. "It’s sick. My guess is that somebody up there at some point decided that they could get away with doing this."
One of Moore’s most successful documentaries, Bowling for Columbine, focuses on our country’s utter lack of gun control legislation, and how that inadvertently resulted in the 1999 mass slaughter at Columbine high school near Denver, CO. Moore was given photos, as well as video footage, recorded during the shooting spree at Columbine and never released them. He uses that fact as an argument in his favor: “There’s probably no better proof than [the fact that] I obtained not just photos but the footage of Columbine,” he said. “And I didn’t put that in my movie.”
Sandy Hook parents sent this plea, via Change.org, to Connecticut legislatures in response to Moore’s suggestion:
"We are parents and family members who lost children in the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school in December 2012. We’re coming together to urge the Connecticut legislature to pass a law that would keep sensitive information, including photos and audio, about this tragic day private and out of the hands of people who’d like to misuse it for political gain.
"Michael Moore and the hoaxers want to publish this gruesome information. For the sake of the surviving children and families, it’s important to keep this information private. Other gruesome scenes have been kept private … This crime has received such international attention, it should be afforded the same treatment."