ESPN classic 30 for 30 sports documentary titled The Prince of Pennsylvania which is based on the murder of Olympian Dave Schultz by crazed millionaire John du Pont is set to air on Oct 20th 2015 at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT). The ESPN documentary will correctly address the many inaccuracies depicted by Sony and Annapurna’s deceptive dogmatic release starring Channing Tatum and Steve Carrell.
Film in its best activist tradition with its punch can raise the consciousness of its society, celebrating its culture. Yet film at its worst can be employed for taking a duck under in manipulating our consciousness and can be utilized to intentionally undermine our value systems and communities’ institutions. Film like any respectable expressed medium or form in literature and the arts owes its responsibility to act as tellers to benefit our greater community. However as a warning, when film is placed in the hands of gratuitous self serving individuals it will fail by losing credibility finally dismissing itself miserably.
Foxcatcher the film is renowned across the world for its many historical inaccuracies and embellishments. It sadly did not reveal the true or the complete story of wrestling Gold Medalist brothers, Mark and Dave Schultz, and their estranged relationship with their wrestling sponsor John DuPont and the epic events that took place leading up to Dave’s tragic murder. It instead revealed only its well planned economic storied agenda.
Foxcatcher was an elitist venture told by inexperienced and sophomoric storytellers who attempted to keep out important historical principles, exercising excessive liberties, inventing and contriving its own indulged hermetic interpretations of its facts. The film fabricated much of the historical record by selfishly employing a House of Cards formula which strategically sought to capitalize, monetize, sensationalize and trivialize Dave Schultz’s tragic murder and the Schultz legacy.
It was sagacious for the film makers to largely ignore important and vital principles by purposefully omitting or exploiting their narratives from Hollywood’s contrived and ill-fated film, therefore in default abandoning its true historical record. The filmmakers committed transgressive acts as violations which included passing off fiction as fact, with elements of blatant racism, sexual harassment, emotional and financial abuse, and drug addiction.
Foxcatcher the film wrote out people for marketability, instead opting to color-in its characters and narrative by whitewashing and casting its characters as more marketable WHITE for so called unmarketable BLACKS. Friends and families were cast in cameo parts as personal tinseltown favors – this feature’s intent was calculated and focused on selling scandal and sensation rather than truth to garner economic favor through a privileged bias in order to commodify the packaging of the wrestling narrative as fact.
Besides omitting Foxcatcher Team member Dan Chaid, a prominent outspoken media commentator during the tragedy, athletes from the African American community were also excluded from the storyline and plot. Rather, these filmmakers chose to include subtle innuendos of gay bashing, homoerotic relations, drug use and financial abuse of the wealthy over the poor.
The movie not only insulted and demeaned Olympian Gold Medalist Mark Schultz but also contained elements of racism by purposefully excluding the black Foxcatcher athletes. This apparent sense of entitlement and indulged privilege by the film’s creators misrepresents and undermines the value of the African American communities’ experiences, and most important, their contributions to the sport of wrestling.
Foxcatcher film’s timelines became blurred somewhere between the historical inaccuracies, omissions and fabricated plots, regarding who actually was on the farm and what activities actually took place leading up to the tragic death of Dave Schultz. The film lacked historical continuity in favor of a fact checker whose narrative gratuitously and selfishly served its production company’s own interest.
So where did the 7 years missing in Foxcatcher’s darkened embellished tale go? Legendary Black wrestler Kevin Jackson, who was a celebrated 92 Olympic Gold Medalist and former Foxcatcher team member who was ignored in the film, shed more light on the subject in a statement to USA Today.
“I started hearing crazy stuff about him (John DuPont) not liking black things,” Jackson stated. “He told people to get rid of his (black) jeep, told other people to get rid of all his black equipment in the weight room. Then he started kicking black athletes off the team.”
By Foxcatcher’s director and producers excluding and omitting its very community, the film has in effect turned fiction into fact, systematically betrayed its essential wrestling sports history and by default has attacked the great Schultz legacy.
The film’s producers have not only denied the contributions and experiences of the African American team members, including Olympic and Maccabiah gold medalist Robert Pritchett, but were intentional in keeping significant principles away from the film set and its production apparently in order to further perpetuate and stage deception and lies on its set as truth.
You ask for proof, lets go to the film’s script which was presented to Mark Schultz early on, only to be altered later without his consent. The parents of Dave and Mark Schultz have contempt for this film, describing the befuddled director as “without a clue”. Take one of many inaccurate examples of this film’s pathetic incompetency where the decision to recast Mark Schultz’s opponent in his UFC match, Gary Goodridge, into a more marketable ‘White’ character. This very act of the film’s casting is unforgivable and is flat out unforgettably racist. What suitable reason could they possibly have for casting a first generation Black cage fighter like Gary Goodridge as White?
Whitewashing has become a major discussed issue with Hollywood films today and it represents a sad and reflective state of complacency in the industry given how systemic the problem has become. Just last year Exodus: Gods and Kings drew heavy scorn for using an almost all-Caucasian cast to portray explicitly Middle Eastern and North African characters, despite the existence of many qualified actors and actresses who would have been a proper fit.
ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary will set the record straight by introducing credible principled characters and subscribing to a set of responsible journalistic standards, sharing chronicled perspectives that united a divided community and paid tribute to many of those that were unceremoniously left out, robbed, hurt and cheated by the film.