People who are upset by her smear of President Lyndon Johnson, Ava DuVernay says, should be happy that people are now talking about him with regard to his civil rights legacy and not Viet Nam. And what about the rabbis who marched with Martin Luther King, Junior? Rabbis DuVernay wrote out of history? Silence.
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As you can see from this interview aired last night, director Ava DuVernay is again claiming her new movie Selma is history, not fiction, and that it is meant to keep the legacy of Martin Luther King Junior, alive.
Tavis Smiley does not ask her about the excision of the rabbis, especially Abraham Yehoshua Heschel, from the film – which dramatically distorts history. However, he does throw her a softball question about her smear of President Lyndon Johnson.
DuVernay's answer is clearly dishonest - especially when you compare it to what she she said on the PBS News Hour 12 days ago.
Most alarming is that groups of businesspeople, mostly African American, are buying tens of thousands of tickets to the film and giving them for free to high school students so they can learn the history of the civil rights movement, most not realizing that DuVernay has seriously distorted that history. Both DuVernay and Smiley praised this effort and spoke of the film as being history – despite what can only be called DuVernay's lies of commission and omission that so seriously distorts it.
And that is sad.
An accurate film on Selma is truly needed. While DuVernay's film is largely accurate with regard to the police brutality and the legacy of King, its inaccuracies regarding Johnson and the excision of Heschel and the other rabbis distorts the history of the civil rights movement almost beyond recognition.
And the saddest thing is, the vast majority of people seeing the film, whatever their race, ethnicity or color, don't – and likely won't ever – realize that.
As the dishonest DuVernay says to Smiley, films are forever. A hundred years from now, people will be watching Selma. And when they do, they will Johnson was hostile to King – a lie – and that Jews played no role in Selma – another lie.
These lies were told by DuVernay and by Oprah Winfrey (who acted in and helped produce the film) and the studio that released it. And none of us should ever forget that.
Related Post: Why Does New Film On Seminal Civil Rights March Cut Out Jews?