Charlton Heston died last Saturday. Now that he has gone, my mind goes back to that ghastly attack on him by Michael Moore in 2002 when Heston was already suffering from Alzheimer’s.
When Mr Heston was younger and healthier I am sure that he could have stood up for himself against Moore’s attack. He had fought many battles for the Actors’ Guild. He supported civil rights and took part in demonstrations against the war in Vietnam. In fact, he originally was a Democrat supporter.
Heston also comported himself admirably during his long acting career. And what’s very impressive is that while other actors were screwing around marrying a few times, he remained married to the same wife. Not an easy thing to achieve in the glamorous world of Hollywood.
Now I don’t support his views about the right to bear arms. Neither does Michael Moore. But Moore knew full well in 2002 that Heston was seriously ill with Alzheimer’s when he ambushed his home in order to attack him about his National Rifle Association Presidency.
Moore was making his documentary, “Bowling for Columbine” and as we now know, he was in the habit of setting up many phoney scenes and pretending that they were impromptu.
When Moore attacked him for his views, Heston was very gracious and politely excused himself from the interview. I wish that I had been there and I would have given Moore a lecture on hitting a man when he’s down.
Rude, fat, and obnoxious Moore showed what a hungry publicity seeker he really is. Heston behaved like a gentleman. A very sick one, but a gentleman nevertheless.
You really can judge a man by the way he behaves towards vulnerable people. Moore is a bully who received much more fame than he deserved. His docos are set up. He doesn’t care if he hurts sick, old and vulnerable people who can’t defend themselves. I don’t like fakes and I don’t like bullies and that’s what Michael Moore is.
I was also disappointed that George Clooney joked about Heston’s Alzheimer’s in 2003 saying that he deserved what he got for supporting the NRA. This is what Heston said according to the Internet Movie Database:-
Heston responded to Clooney’s remarks by noting the “class” of the actor’s late aunt, singer-actress Rosemary Clooney.
“It just goes to show that sometimes class does skip a generation,”
Shame on Clooney and shame on Michael Moore!
Charlton Heston will be remembered long after Clooney and Moore are archived under “Big mouth, small brain, and no heart.”
23 thoughts on “Michael Moore’s shameful ambush of Charlton Heston”
Surely, a good deal of the blame rests on the NRA, who retained an ill man as their president – including changing their constitution to give him a third term – and continued him as a keynote speaker (including at their national convention in Denver, days after Columbine.) He said there – as he’s said always – ‘from my cold dead hands’. It’s always a tragedy when the hands are the last part to go.
I agree that Heston would have given Moore a battle regardless of ones leaning. Let’s make it a fair “argument” on both sides!
Couldn’t agree with you more about the NRA. As I said I do not support the right to bear arms idea. But I still think that Michael Moore delivered a low blow to an incapacitated Heston. The NRA probably thought that Heston had enough status to represent them. What Moore should have done, but didn’t, is to go to the NRA offices and ask them why they had elected Heston. After all, Moore did go to other offices in his mockumentaries and he could have done so in this case.
But, as we found out subsequently, Moore was in the habit of setting up pretend opposition and also made up that some people refused to speak to him when it later was revealed that he had not turned up to appointments.
Moore was on a celebrity roll and nothing, like the truth, for example, was going to stop him. What you may not know, Jeremy, is that Heston was an activist for civil rights etc. He was not the demon that Moore wanted to portray. He was obviously suffering from the disease when he made that cold dead hands speech in 2003. He would have been suffering from it as early as 2000 when he made a similar one.
Yes, it is a pity that the NRA continued to use a sick man. Poor Heston would probably not have been in control of his faculties and got carried away in his speeches. No doubt he took some comfort from imitating the acting roles of Moses etc and couldn’t differentiate (as happens with senility) what was real and what was not.
None of this excuses Moore, nor does it excuse Clooney. As Heston said no one, not even Clooney, is immune from this disease. When it comes to class, Clooney and Moore don’t even come close.
I agree that Michael Moore totally ambushed Charlton Heston. It was shameful as were George Clooney’s comments. I think it’s also the case that the NRA kept him on as president in this elder more frail age. I disagree though that Charlton Heston could’ve done so much to defend himself if he had been younger. The problem was the peculiar angle Moore attacks from. The whole film distorted facts and had already set Heston up to be the president supposedly of an organisation which is the new Ku Klux Klan although the NRA was actually set up to defend black people. The interview with Heston was only 5 minutes in the movie when in fact it lasted 25 minutes. You can only assume for the rest of it Heston wasn’t being made to look like a racist idiot.
Thge questions Michael Moore asks deliberately ambushed him. The original meeting he made with the NRa had to be carried out by law and the second was several months after the tragic death in Flint not a few days as Moore leads us to believe. Asking him if he thinks it was insensitive to go to both places?? What can he say??, Moore needs to back up so so far. Quite a sad reflection of society that a movie with so little genuine enlightened thought wins awards for being a documentary. Disgraceful really.
Having discovered how Moore actually stages his interviews instead of taking an unbiased approach, I think that Moore has lost much of his credibility. On the other hand, Phil, there is no such thing as a “real documentary.” Every documentary producer is pushing a point of view, whether it’s intentional or unintentional. What I am writing here on this blog site necessarily gives expression to what I think. The point is that I am not making a claim of being a doco producer.
Quite frankly, though, I don’t believe that real objectivity exists nor can it when ideas have to pass through a human brain before being communicated. However, one should be aware of natural bias and try to minimise it as much as possible in a documentary setting.
If you believe, and I agree with you, that Moore did not deserve the awards he received, and that this is a sad reflection on our society, then what is your opinion of Al Gore’s award for a one-sided pseudo-doco that made him into some sort of cult hero? I’d be interested in hearing your views on Gore.
I must apologise as I don’t know about this documentary that made Al Gore into a cult hero. I’ve just watched Moore films and read about those. I’d be interested to see that though. I’m actually from England and don’t know so much about Al Gore. I’m just quite interested in the whole Moore phenomenon in America.
I do agree with what youre saying in terms of a ‘real documentary’ not existing. In the case of Moore though he deliberately misleads and makes you think there are things happening when they are not. Just to give one example of many the cut to Heston saying ‘from my cold dead hands’ and the clip of him speaking which misses out paragraphs. Youre surely meant to think he said ‘from my cold dead hands’ at this time which he didn’t and that the speach Heston gives in Bowling doesn’t have parts deliberately cut out. From my limited knowledge of documentaries I would think Louis Theroux conducts what in my opinion are ‘real documentaries’ which at least attempt to genuinely research something. Interestingly he apparently worked with Moore at some stage. I actually think the documentary about Michael Moore called ‘Manufacturing Dissent’ did give more genuine research too.
Obviously total non biased is impossible and perhaps not even desirable but Moore does in fact lie too. His first so called documentary Roger and Me was in fact stopped from having an award due to how much he mislead. In Bowling too he goes to a factory then discusses Dad ‘building missiles’ when it was later found out it was a factory for building satellites. He also claims the Klan was formed in 1871 when it was 1866. Saying things like that surely has to be out of order for documentary credibility purposes. Do you see what I mean? There just seems quite little genuine truth in a lot of what he’s done. I guess my view on Al Gore if he made a totally one sided psuedo documentary would be that it also lacks credibility in the same way. Although as I said I have never seen it.
I guess maybe Moore and this Al Gore doco you speak of maybe have some place. I guess I just find this kind of thing quite concerning in terms of how popular Moore’s films have been and how much people totally buy into them as a real truth when they’re not. I think it’s important that they’re put into real perspective. The philosopher Ken Wilber discusses Extreme Postmodernism and the qualities and also negatives of this. A view not really grounded in anything but itself. Very narcissistic. I think this is where Moore’s work fits in.
The doco made by Al Gore is called “An Inconvenient Truth” which I’m sure you’ve heard of since Gore won a Nobel prize for it. It was about the effects of global warming, a theory that has become very popular among the young and the green.
I’ve expressed my views on that in the past and I remain a sceptic on the whole subject. I fully agree that one should check simple facts like dates before making a claim of truth, otherwise the whole thing becomes questionable.
I looked up Ken Wilber and have not read about him enough to comment. But I will do so. His philosophy seems to be metaphysical and hard to understand and requires more study than my cursory glance on the internet.
You certainly know a lot about Moore. And yes, I did see “Manufacturing Dissent” which opened my eyes. Moore would refer to these “minor adjustments” to the truth as creativity, no doubt, but I regard them as interfering with credibility. The last Moore doco that I saw was “Sicko” in which he criticises the U.S Health system, but you would know that the NHS in England and the Health system here in Australia are also far from ideal.
I am aware of English people who have been waiting for a hip replacement for two years. I know that American health care is very expensive and that insurance is not a guarantee of treatment, but I also know that overseas people go to America for the best quality of surgery there is. So there are two sides to every story and Moore avoids a balanced view just to create a sensation. Phil, he is not as respected as he was in the past, because people no longer believe him.
Yes I totally agree with you about Sicko and it does seem that Moore isn’t as popular as he was. Actually the best thing about Sicko was the so called ‘anti michael moore website’ mentioned at the end. It’s called Moorewatch.com. The guys who run that are actually very smart and it’s interesting how many Moore fans write slating them and how they respond.
Yeah, the England NHS does have good qualities but does have people waiting a really long time for thinghs people could get in America straight away. He does clearly want a sensation and creates a total polarisation of an evil on one side and a good on the other when it isn’t really like that.
I’ll check out that film with Al Gore. It was actually on my list to rest on the internet so I mustve searched at some stage. I’ll be sure to give it a look. Yes Ken Wilber can be a bit difficult but I’m pretty sure that’s where this sort of work fits in, in this extreme postmodernism.
I’ll be sure I keep checking your site. I only came across it by accident. Very topical. Keep up the good work. Take care. Phil.
Apologists making excuses. Charlton Heston is accountable for his statements and his actions. Let them stand and quit making excuses for a man who, despite an illustrious acting career, stands for guns, habors white-supremist views.
Ambush? Nothing wrong with that if it exposes the truth right from the horses mouth.
It wasn’t even an ambush. Moore made an appointment.
I totally disagree with Linda, but perhaps she was never raised to be polite to other people. I thought Moore was rude and totally sensationalist in his attack of an ailing Heston, who handled himself like a gentleman, something on which Moore could use some lessons.
You can disagree with someone, you may argue and discuss, but if you do not see what is wrong with what Moore did to Heston then you desperately need to be taught some manners, something on which many in this country where debate has been reduced to outshouting your opponent sadly need also lessons.
Raj, I agree with your sentiments about Michael Moore. It doesn’t take much courage to hit a man when he’s down (as was Heston owing to suffering from Alzheimer’s).
I don’t believe that Moore would know how to be polite. It wouldn’t suit his style of bullying at all.
Linda doesn’t seem to understand that
Heston was no longer accountable and couldn’t respond to Moore’s intrusive attacks. In spite of that, Heston still left us with the impression that he was a gentleman to the end. Moore will never be described as that.
I agree that Mr Heston was ambushed by Mr Moore. I am a Flint Autoworker and have long appreciated Mr Moores work. But that interview was uncalled for. Mr Heston had nothing to do with that childs death & had nothing to apologize for.
Yes, Rob. Mike Moore certainly went too far this time and can be accused of hitting below the belt.
The most terrible thing about Michael Moore’s BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE is the way he distorted a whole generation of young people’s opinion of Heston’s character. Mr Heston fought for his country, was a civil rights activist in the 1960’s, gave thousands to charity, and was a thoroughly decent and honest citizen. What Moore did to him was degrading.
I applauded Moore’s films, believing he was advocating compassion towards our fellow man. It was at the end of the film he interviewed Mr. Heston that I fast forwarded unable to believe what I saw, past taking shot kids to Walmart. I realize he sells his movies by making other uncomfortable, and I don;t know how he can edit interviews as he deems fit. From admiration to the antithesis, I am repulsed by his actions that have lost credibility in every movie he has done. He even sued others for around 10% of the profit on a film he felt he was entitled to after others made an exponentially more successful film on their own. This man is not who he appears. Some one should expose him as he exposes others. You hit the nail right on the head with this bully and poor excuse for a human being. Some one should have hit him hard when he was chasing around an old man trying to show him a picture of a dead girl. I can’t say I could but I do not like him anymore, and those that do wouldn’t if they knew what he really is. A loser from Flint got lucky on some films. I am shocked no one has sued or shot him yet.
I cannot believe people are talking about rudeness when the topic is gun violence. Was 9-11 rude? People have the right to ask pointed questions of those who believe in violent means and if you can’t handle that you need to get yourself an arsenal of nuclear weapons and declare more primitive but effective weapons out of bounds like the loser(s) you are! SOME PEOPLE COMMENTING SEEM TO HAVE A VERY BAD CASE OF JESUS CHRIST SYNDROME: WAKE UP SHEEPLE–> TOO MUCH VIOLENT SPORTS IN FRONT OF THE TV MAKES FOR A PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE SOCIETY! Yeh, let’s all smoke meth and change sex… what fun!
The topic was actually about a hugely overweight man bullying a senile old man in his 80s.
A senile man who was acting head of a major single-issue lobbyist, representing an entire half of a major debate in the US that continues today.
If the man was able enough to serve as head of a lobbyist organization, of his own free will, and make coherent political speeches intended to represent the views of the NRA, I think he damn well better be able to have a normal conversation in which his views are challenged.
To say otherwise is just mind-bogglingly absurd. He was not a vegetable. He willfully chose to represent an issue on an international stage. If he can’t defend that issue when asked even the most basic questions about it, he was an awful president and the worst possible representative for his cause.
Kevin Johnson: Its absurd that you can’t seem to comprehend that Mr. Heston was suffering from Alzheimers when that grotesque specimen Moore fired off those ridiculous questions to him.
I guess some people would hit a man when he’s down, wouldn’t they? I still remember how gracious Mr Heston was when Moore attacked him. It shows the true measure of the man.
It’s a question of fair play and that’s why I got so upset
I understand where you’re coming from and perhaps Heston should have relinquished his position as head of the NRA when he became ill with Alzheimer’s. The problem with this devastating disease is that sufferers are often not aware of their condition.
Take President Reagan, for example who no doubt was already ill when he went for re-election. The people around both men probably protected them from scrutiny and I am sure that their families did that out of compassion.
My gripe is really with Michael Moore who kicked a man when he was down and that is very un-American and un-Australian.
Michael Moore, George Clooney and most of the Hollywood lame brains are all a bunch of blowharts. I say most, not all. The low life’s know who they are. They comprise their values for the almighty dollars. They are all whore’s for their masters as long as the paychecks keep on coming. The good people of America should shut them all out of our lives. No ratings, no money. Stop supporting these low life’s.