NYT Op-Ed: ‘Chappaquiddick’ Movie Is ‘Character Assassination’

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Amber Athey Podcast Columnist
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A New York Times contributor insisted in a Friday opinion piece that “Chappaquiddick” unfairly assassinates the character of former Senator Ted Kennedy.

The movie, which hits theaters on Friday, depicts the event surrounding the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, who drowned after Kennedy drove his car into a pond. Kennedy failed to report the incident to police for ten hours.

Neil Gabler, who is writing a biography on Ted Kennedy, chose not to address the circumstances surrounding Kopechne’s death or Kennedy’s involvement in The New York Times. Instead, Gabler flatly claimed that the movie is “outright character assassination.”

“No one but the most lunatic conspiracy theorists see this as anything but a tragic accident in which nothing much was covered up,” Gabler writes. “Just how many liberties can an artist or entertainer take when he or she deploys a biographical subject? Many scenes cross from dramatic interpretation to outright character assassination.”

“Fake history is no better than fake news; it’s maybe worse,” he continues. “It is very possible that over time, through the osmosis of social media, the despicable Kennedy of this movie will eradicate the honorable if flawed real one.”

Twitter users were not thrilled with how Gable’s review left out the worst of Kennedy’s actions in the aftermath of the car crash.

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