Letter to Roy Disney

Author: James G. Prusa

JAMES G. PRUSA 28081 Via Rueda San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 Telephone: 714/ 240-3234 Facsimile: 714/ 240-3234 VIA FACSIMILE May 22, 1995 Mr. Roy Disney, Vice Chairman DISNEY 500 S. Buena Vista Burbank, CA 91521 Dear Mr. Disney: Having recently seen the movie Priest, I am writing you to personally express my absolute disgust with this film and with your company, Disney, for having produced it. I was compelled to carefully consider viewing Priest, for myself and on behalf of my friends, after reading and hearing that it was a vicious attack on Catholic priests. First, I spoke with many in my Catholic community to let them know of my intentions. Then I promised to provide them a report of what I found and I went to see the film with a good Catholic friend. By copy of this letter I am reporting on the evil that I saw and I now intend to broadly disseminate such copies far beyond my immediate circle. In my forty-six years on this earth many would find that I have been around-the-horn. I have seen too many vile and disgusting things that no person should have to be subjected to, even experiencing first-hand, in Vietnam and other places, the wicked depravity of what humankind is capable of. However, nothing in my experience prepared me for the depravity I saw by viewing your film Priest and the sense of loss I felt knowing that, a once wholesome American company, Disney, has produced such a pornographic piece of evil trash. I found Priest, with its setting in England and with the apparent full support of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), to be all of the mean-spirited defamation of every Catholic priest that it was reputed to be -- and even much more shocking. If the film had stopped with its undisguised, unbridled attack on our priests it would have far exceeded the bounds of decency and fairness of any Catholic or other Christian. To my further shock, Priest went even beyond the reported outrages and slanders. I discovered, as a Catholic lay person, that your movie exceeded the grave depravation of attacking all Catholic priests in its twisted representation of all five Catholic priest characters (one a drunken misfit; another a hypocrite pastor having illicit sex with his housekeeper; the third an insensitive, secularized bishop; the fourth an individual performing abominable homosexual acts; and the final an evil, cold-hearted recluse). Beyond this singular affront to the Catholic Church, I also found Priest to be, in fact, an overt attack on every person and everything that is Catholic. As I sat in that theater, to my terror-filled realization, I found that your film is also an attack on me personally! As the full weight of what I saw hit me, I physically shuddered with a chilling comprehension of what must have occurred in Nazi Germany in the 1930’s when, with initial subtlety, the Nazi propaganda films began to attack our Jewish brothers in an effort to desensitize the citizens. This film Priest was not even thinly veiled as parody or satire, rather this was proactive propaganda. With such callous insensitivity on the part of your management, it is no wonder that the French people provided the disastrous reception that met the opening of Euro Disney -- the French have always had vision! I pray to God that this occurrence serves as a wake-up call to Catholics and other Christians everywhere. The roles portrayed in Priest depicted every adult Catholic character (priest and laity) in the movie to be in one manner of profanation or another. From a raving, evil, incestuous father to a cold-hearted and prejudiced deacon along with a cold and unforgiving congregation, your film characterized Catholics in every conceivable stereotypical evil possible. I found myself asking, "Why would any person or group be so ill motivated to produce such an obviously malicious depiction that totally lacked any redeeming artistic or social qualities?" The answer came to me like a ton of bricks: that only people full of hatred for Catholics and anything Christian could have done this and that this production was intended to stir hatred and division. Frankly, it would not surprise me to find the film credits to include the name of Joseph Goebbels at the top of the listing as such was the identical spirit standing behind this production. You, sir, by having allowed your company's subsidiary Miramax to produce this evil, have done irreparable harm to the reputation of every loving Catholic priest (who overwhelmingly dilute any handful fallen into perdition) which I find as the most grievous assault. You have additionally damaged every loving Catholic person in my family, every loving Catholic in my community and all those who have come before us in the love of Jesus Christ. Your company owes every Catholic priest, every Catholic and myself an apology. In the name of decency I demand that this film be immediately withdrawn from distribution -- especially its vertical marketing and the video distribution that is probably its real, intended market. Until such apologies and the shelving of this trash are forthcoming, I intend to dedicate myself to an effort to make the general public aware of this hideous affront. I am only a small voice, but my voice combined with others will become a deafening roar for your company, its balance sheet and your stockholders' ROI. To contribute a ripple that will turn to a tidal wave, I am canceling the Disney Channel and informing my cable distributor why. Further, until adequate public restitution has been made to the Catholic community, my family will not visit Disneyland, purchase any Disney products or support any of its affiliations -- and any business influence I can weld will be directed to divert commerce from your company. I also intend to press this issue, through my business contacts, to any and all stockholders of your corporation. Priest's only redeeming aspects were that the film finally ended and, from my understanding, it is a box office failure -- I hope your board at least takes a fiduciary look at the latter. What Disney once built as decent and wholesome through the depiction of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck has been singularly destroyed in one "GOOFY" movie. I pray that all decent people will pause to reflect on the hateful viciousness of this evil film and ask themselves that sobering question, "If I stand idly by while they attack some other group of people, who will stand when they come for me?" Sincerely, James G. Prusa JGP:jp

cc: Disney Officers and Board of Directors, Miramax, Cox Cable, Orange County

Register, Embassy of France, Others DISNEY OFFICERS AND BOARD and OTHER CONTACTS Gary L. Wilson Tel: 612/ 726-2111, ext 5 (ask for Mr. Wilson) Co-Chairman Fax: 612/ 726-0622 Northwest Airlines 5201 Northwest Drive St. Paul, MN 55111-3034 Stanley P. Gold Tel: 818/ 845-4444 President & CEO Fax: 818/ 559-7320 Shamrock Holdings 4444 Lakeside Drive Burbank, CA 91505 Ray Wilson Tel: 714/ 720-4350 Vice Chairman Fax: 714/ 720-2810 The Irvine Company 550 Newport Center Drive Newport Beach, CA 92660 LA OPINION Tel: 213/ 622-5332 Ignacio E. Lozano Fax: 213/ 896-2151 Editor-In-Chief 411 W. 5th Street Los Angeles, CA Robert A.M. Stern Architects Tel: 212/ 245-1980 Robert A.M. Stern Fax: 212/ 245-2456 Senior Partner 211 W. 61st New York, NY 10023 DIRECTOR EMERITUS: Joseph F. Cullman, III Tel: 212/ 880-5000 Chairman Emeritus Tel: 212/ 907-5566 Phillip Morris Companies 120 Clark Avenue New York, NY 10017 OTHERS: Michael Eisner, CEO Tel: 818/ 560-1000 Disney Company Fax: 818/ 560-1930 500 S. Buena Vista Burbank, CA 91521 Roy Disney Tel: 818 560-1000 Vice Chairman Fax: 818/ 972-9159 Disney Company (IBID) Ken A Green, Director Tel: 818/ 560-6166 Corporate Communications Fax: 818/ 567-4267 Disney Company (IBID) Marsh Reed Tel: 818/ 560-1878 Corporate Secretary Fax: 818/ 972-9159 Disney Company (IBID) Erica Steinberg, Spokesperson Tel: 212/ 941-3800, ext 3882 MIRAMAX FILMS Fax: 212/ 941-3834 375 Greenwich Street New York, NY 10013 Bob and Harvey Weinstein Tel: 212/ 941-3800 Co-Chairmen Fax: 212/ 941-3880 MIRAMAX FILMS (IBID) Mark Gill, President Tel: 212/ 941-3800 MIRAMAX FILMS Fax: 212/ 941-3812 (IBID) Fax: 212/ 941-2072