There are advantages to being a video guy rather than an ink-stained wretch. James O’Keefe is currently in Cannes, where he is premiering his latest video prank. O’Keefe’s targets are Josh and Rebecca Tickell, producers of environmental documentaries including “Fuel.” Ed Begley Jr. and (former?) actress Mariel Hemingway appear, but are mostly along for the ride. And there isn’t actually much video; it’s mostly recorded conversations.
But the content is eye-opening. O’Keefe’s crew pose as a Middle Eastern potentate named “Muhammad” and his American ad executive. They approach the Tickells with an offer of $9 million to finance an anti-fracking film. “Muhammad’s” motives are clearly expressed: he wants to keep the U.S. dependent on Middle Eastern oil, and to that end he wants to stamp out fracking. The Tickells have no problem with this at all. They discuss the need to keep the film’s source of funding secret, and talk about how they can create a false impression as to who paid for it. You hear statements like: “We’re confident that we can keep this [i.e. the fact that the film was financed with Middle Eastern oil money] zip locked, you know tight, tight, air tight forever.” “If we don’t protect–who is kind of funding this thing, if we have to disclose that or that becomes a necessary part of it, the whole enterprise will not work. Because if people think the film is funded by Middle Eastern oil it will, it will not have that credibility. It will be nonstarter.” Here it is:
Naturally, the punked parties have responded with howls of outrage. What should the unbiased observer make of it? You could adopt the Tickells’ attitude and say, as long as they are going to make an anti-fracking film, what difference does it make where the money comes from? But most people won’t see it that way. The alacrity with which the filmmakers sign on with “Muhammad’s” goal of preventing America from becoming more energy independent is discomfiting. And one gets the distinct sense that somewhere in that $9 million there is a considerable profit for the Tickells.
In O’Keefe’s video, the parties discuss the movie “Promised Land,” which disclosed up-front that it was funded by the United Arab Emirates. That disclosure hurt the film’s credibility, and it had no impact–a fate that these parties want to avoid. One wonders whether other films have been financed from sources that their makers preferred not to mention. Here, as in other respects, the “green” movement has been given a free pass that it does not deserve.
Oh, one more thing–the video ends with “To be continued…” More Hollywood celebrities will be featured in the next installment.