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Disney Won't Drive Down 'Path to 9/11'

14 Mar, 2008 By: John Latchem

According to a Hollywood Reporter account of a March 6 Disney shareholder's meeting, Disney executives may be holding back a DVD release of a controversial miniseries for political reasons.

The Path to 9/11 aired on the Disney-owned ABC network in 2006 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The miniseries stars Harvey Keitel and Stephen Root and depicts efforts to combat terrorism following the 1993 bombing of New York City's World Trade Center.

But the program sparked controversy before it aired when Democrats claimed it was too critical of President Bill Clinton's administration, with some asking ABC not to air it. The network trimmed some scenes, but the uproar didn't subside.

According to THR's report, fund manager Tom Borelli asked why Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment had yet to release a DVD version to recoup some of the $40 million production cost. He accused Disney CEO Robert Iger of blocking the DVD release to protect the presidential campaign of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. Borelli also claimed to have a letter indicating Disney was not interested in selling the DVD rights to another company.

Iger responded that the decision against a DVD release was based on business considerations, not politics.

However, speaking to the Los Angeles Times this past September, Path to 9/11screenwriter Cyrus Nowrasteh indicated he was told by an ABC executive that if Hillary weren't running for president, a DVD release wouldn't be a problem.

This wouldn't be Disney's first attempt to steer clear of politically sensitive topics. Disney backed out of supporting Michael Moore's 2004 film Fahrenheit 9/11, a criticism of the George W. Bush administration. Moore claimed Disney didn't want to offend lawmakers in Florida, home to numerous Disney theme parks. Jeb Bush, the president's brother, was governor of Florida at the time.

Despite that controversy, Borelli noted that Disney still pulled in a $46 million profit on Moore's film.

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