Award-winning producer Gerald Molen claims his invitation to speak to a Montana high school graduating class was rescinded because he is an outspoken conservative, The Hollywood Reporter reports.
Molen won a best picture Oscar for “Schindler’s List,” which he co-produced with Steven Spielberg. A former U.S. Marine, Molen also produced the first two “Jurassic Park” films, “Twister,” “Minority Report” and “Rain Man.”
The principal of Ronan High School, Tom Stack, has apologized for rescinding Molen’s invitation, though it remains unclear precisely why he opted to prevent Molen from speaking to the graduating class or whether he would have allowed a liberal to speak. Molen reportedly took three weeks to prepare his speech and drove 90 minutes to the school.
Stack flatly told Molen the reason he would not be speaking was that Molen is “a right-wing conservative,” according to Molen.
“He said some callers didn’t want the kids exposed to that, despite not knowing what my message would be,” Molen told The Hollywood Reporter.
Molen recently produced and promoted a documentary called “Obama’s America 2016,” which is based on the bestselling book “The Root’s of Obama’s Rage” by conservative author Dinesh D’Souza. The film will appear in select theaters at the end of June.
But Molen, who acknowledges he has become a political figure, says he did not plan to speak about politics in front of the students.
“It was a totally apolitical speech,” Molen told the Hollywood Reporter.
Molen planned to give “a cheerleading presentation … to remind them of their individual greatness and opportunities for the future,” he wrote for Daily Inter Lake, a Montana newspaper.
Molen says would have used Oskar Schindler as an example of a courageous individual and asked the students to imagine their future as a movie and what their scripts would say.
Many Ronan residents have since flooded the school district’s office with vitriolic complaints.
“I’m pissed off,” Chuck Lewis, a former Marine and occasional volunteer at the school, told The Hollywood Reporter. “Why would they dishonor a man who has served our country?”
Superintendent of schools for the Ronan district Andy Holmlund told The Hollywood Reporter Friday that the public outrage over the incident is justifiable.
“It is my understanding that the high-school principal made the decision based on his point of view,” Holmlund said. “It is not the view of the district. That’s not the expectations that the district maintains.”
He also said Stack will leave his position within months. Residents say Stack’s decision to leave is probably unconnected to the Molen incident.
Stack reportedly has chosen not to respond to media inquiries.