Actress Mia Farrow is back in the news, accusing a high-profile film director of moral turpitude -- only this time it's not Woody Allen. In the Wednesday Wall Street Journal, Farrow slammed director Steven Spielberg and various corporate sponsors for supporting the 2008 Beijing Olympics, despite China's reluctance to pressure Sudan over the Darfur issue. Spielberg, of course, is a consultant to the games and Farrow feels that as an artist, he has a responsibility to voice concerns about China's horrendous human rights record. "That so many corporate sponsors want the world to look away from that atrocity is bad enough," she wrote, "but equally disappointing is the decision of artists like director Steven Spielberg -- who quietly visited China this month as he prepares to help stage the Olympic ceremonies -- to sanitize Beijing's image."
Farrow went further, asking the question: "Is Mr. Spielberg, who in 1994 founded the Shoah Foundation, to record the testimony of survivors of the Holocaust, aware that China is bankrolling Darfur's genocide?" And here's the kicker quote: "Does Mr. Spielberg really want to go down in history as the Leni Riefenstahl of the Beijing Games?" The piece was co-signed by Farrow's son, Ronan, but it seems safe to say that the sentiment belongs to Farrow. Is China's human rights record really comparable to Nazi Germany's? That's obviously hyperbole on her part, but Farrow is also obviously correct that China is a monstrous abuser of human rights, and I personally want nothing to do with the inevitable wave of corporate-media hooey we'll be subjected to during the Olympics about how China and its vomit values are the future. I can see the Time Magazine cover already, can't you?
So I say kudos, Mia. It's nice to hear someone actually call Spielberg out on his hypocrisy in supporting the games. This is a director who has repeatedly put his name onto films with a very strong pro-freedom point of view, like Schindler's List, The Color Purple, and Amistad. He clearly wants to be viewed as an artist with a social conscience, and that is contradicted by his support of the games.