Support Gary Webb and Re-Release Kill the Messenger in Theaters
This petition had 2,953 supporters
Eighteen years ago, investigative reporter Gary Webb uncovered C.I.A. involvement in the origin of the 1980’s crack cocaine epidemic. His discovery, one of the most important outings of U.S. government conspiracy and horrifying injustice to the Black community in our history, did not lead to mass public outrage and call to action. Rather, Gary was destroyed, discredited and disowned by fellow journalists and his own editors, some of which were quietly spurred on by members of the C.I.A. who did not want the story to go public.
While Gary continued to fight for vindication, his career never fully recovered from his decision to tell the truth. In December 2004, Gary passed away from two gunshot wounds to the head, his death declared a suicide.
On October 10th, 2014, Focus Features released a film based on Gary’s story, entitled Kill the Messenger, starring two-time Academy Award nominee Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Avengers). Despite positive reviews, a stellar cast, and early buzz, Focus barely promoted the film, which meant that very few people even realized it was out or had the chance to see it before it was already gone. As of November 15th, the film was only playing in 18 theaters nationwide.
The film has inspired an assortment of responses from Gary's prior persecutors, including open remorse, reluctant apologies, and continued outrage. While it has been labeled as one of the most important movies of the year and a “final vindication” for Gary Webb, it has yet to be made noticeable and accessible to the majority of the population.
Focus has also inexplicably failed to promote the film within the entertainment industry in an effort to garner awards nominations, and even failed to attend a fully-packed private award screening held specifically for the film by the Writers Guild of America.
The behavior exhibited by Focus Features with this film is unprofessional, uncharacteristic of any film distributor keen on turning a profit, and not unlike the method of suppression and distancing used by Gary’s peers and colleagues.
This movie starts a conversation about racism, government abuse, and attempts to silence whistleblowers -- a conversation that everyone should be having in our country, and that could not be more relevant and critical to our current society.
That is why we are asking that Focus Features re-release Kill the Messenger in theaters to the eager audience adamant on seeing it, as well as any open film awards group.
After a career characterized by suppression of truth, Gary’s story deserves to be heard.
“The reason I'd enjoyed such smooth sailing for so long hadn't been, as I'd assumed, because I was careful and diligent and good at my job. The truth was that, in all those years, I hadn't written anything important enough to suppress.” --Gary Webb
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