Shaq Attack on Mumia:: NBA Star Censors Film on Famous Radical Inmate
Submitted by admin2 on Fri, 2013-04-26 07:02
Shaq Attack on Mumia::
NBA Star Censors Film on Famous Radical Inmate
Tue, 04/23/2013 - 09:00
Linn Washington Jr.
Was it simply a "cold business decision" or a callous act of censorship?
This is the question swirling around legendary pro-basketball player Shaquille O'Neal who put a power move on Stephen Vittoria blocking this respected filmmaker'
Representatives of O'Neal
Vittoria planned to show his latest documentary "Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary" at the CityPlex-12 on April 26.
But as the final publicity/ticket sales push for the scheduled screening was about to go into high gear, Vittoria discovered on April 11 that CityPlex-12 management had cancelled the booking and halted all marketing efforts. Theater officials reportedly even fired a staff member who had worked with Vittoria.
Censored in Newark: 'Long Distance Revolutionary,
"No official reason was given or has been given for the cancellation,
The suddenness of the cancellation, accompanied by initial silence on the reason why, fueled speculation that the cancellation involved the film's subject matter, thus triggering claims of censorship.
An imprisoned journalist, Abu-Jamal has written over a half dozen acclaimed books and thousands of commentaries during his decades in prison – most spent on death row – following his 1982 conviction for killing a Philadelphia policeman. Abu-Jamal worked as an award-winning radio reporter bprior to his 1981 arrest.
One of the many favorable reviews of Vittoria'
O'Neal has a long-term interest in law enforcement, associating himself in a reserve capacity with police agencies in Los Angeles and Miami, two cities where he played professional basketball before retiring in 2011 with an impressive string of NBA championships, scoring titles and MVPs.
One controversy in the Abu-Jamal case is abuses by Philadelphia police, including officers tampering with murder scene evidence and intimidating eyewitnesses.
In 1981, the year of Abu-Jamal'
Vittoria said he "expected some backlash to the film because of the truth tends to aggravate the wealthy and corporate elite as well as those who support a false narrative about Mumia Abu-Jamal." He called the cancellation of the film a "cowardly move" by the CityPlex-12 and a "direct insult" to the people of Newark.
Newark activist Lawrence Hamm, chairman of the People's Organization for Progress, stated he met with CityPlex-12 management urging them to reconsider the cancellation, even pledging to employ the coalition of 170 organizations and churches he has assembled to ensure a sold-out performance.
Hamm has stated that management told him the cancellation was a "cold business decision" arising from the complex'
Last August, CityPlex-12 served as the venue for the Paul Robeson Awards of the Newark Black Film Festival that honored films all independently produced. That film festival, launched in 1974, has utilized the CityPlex movie complex for screenings since 2001, beginning under previous ownership.
Vittoria and his supporters counter CityPlex-12 claims of `cold business decision' arising from fear of economic loss by noting the ticket sales success of "Long Distance Revolutionary" when it opened in NYC on February 1 as #3 in the country for documentaries,
The multi-screen CityPlex-12, which is the only movie theater in downtown Newark, features a premiere hi-tech auditorium, dubbed the SHAQ-DX, in reference to O'Neal
This movie facility that underwent a multi-million-
This Newark movie cancellation controversy is not the first high-profile incident igniting charges of censorship directed against Abu-Jamal. In 1994, for example, National Public Radio cancelled airing commentaries by Abu-Jamal on prison life that the public network had commissioned him to write from death row. NPR bowed to pressure from police and right-wing politicians like then powerful U.S. Senator Bob Dole, who threatened to slash NPR's federal funding if it went ahead with the project.
Censorship even extends to others examining Abu-Jamal. In 1997 NPR canceled airing a poem it commissioned from award-winning poet Martin Espada when the subject of Espada's work was Abu-Jamal'
While pressure from police drives much of this censorship, Abu-Jamal'
Intense censorship drove Robeson into destitute obscurity in the decades before his 1976 death in Philadelphia. And censorship/racism drove Wright to flee the U.S. for France in 1946, spending the remainder of his life there. Perhaps not surprisingly, Wright's writer daughter, Paris-based Julia Wright, is a leading activist in France for Abu-Jamal.
Newark activists plan protests in front of the CityPlex-12.
"We condemn the decision to cancel this film on Mumia to the fullest and we call upon all of our Mumia supporters…to rally around our community'
Note: Linn Washington Jr. is a recurring interview subject in Vittoria'