Michael Moore has always been a polarizing figure, but he is increasingly being targeted by critics for the messages of his movies via a cottage industry of filmmakers striking out with videos of their own, The Wall Street Journal reports.
"There's been almost a dozen films that have been made against me," Moore recently told the Journal. "There's actually more films made attacking me than films I've made."
Among the films that have taken shots at Moore are Michael Moore Hates America, Fahrenhype 9/11, Celsius 41.11, Michael & Me and Me & Michael.
But, in the growing anti-Moore library, there is nothing quite like Shooting Michael Moore, made by Kevin Leffler, a 52-year-old certified public accountant who also teaches at a college in Flint, Michigan.
That film has similarities to the others, but a big exception is that Leffler grew up in Davison, Mich., with Moore, attended the same high school, the same Catholic church, and both of their fathers worked at General Motors.
"I am doing exactly what Mike would do, except I am doing it to him," Leffler told the paper. "And I'm doing it as a guy who knows him."
Leffler's movie had a limited run in Detroit and Miami late last year. He's spent more than $200,000 of his own money on it.
In the film, Leffler revisits some stars of Roger & Me who say Moore exploited them to paint Flint in an unfair hue.
Leffler's quest also gets personal, digging into Moore's tax statements and past stock holdings of his charitable foundation. He finds what he believes to be indications that a foundation Moore started once owned shares of companies he takes aim at, such as Halliburton and Tenet Healthcare. Public documents, reviewed by the Journal, show the foundation, the Center for Alternative Media & Culture, which listed Moore as president, held shares in Halliburton in 2000 and in Tenet in 2002, along with many other stocks.
In an email, Moore told the WSJ: "I have never owned a share of stock in my life."
He also noted, "I've made a lot of enemies in all the right places and there aren't enough hours in the day to respond to either the well-financed corporate hacks or the lowly stalkers who seek to libel me or make a buck off the fact that I'm a well-known person."
Since 2004, Leffler has poured time and funds into his movie, to the point where he says "my credit cards are melting."
Moore expressed outrage at the movie's title and isn't interested in talking with its maker, the Journal reports. "Anyone who suggests violence doesn't get the olive branch," Moore said.
Leffler also says he goes way back with Jeff Gibbs, who works with Moore and whom Leffler accuses of applying pressure to Carmike Cinemas to retreat on showing Shooting Michael Moore, even after Leffler offered to change the title to Exposing Michael Moore.
A marketing official for Carmike says the company had scheduled to show the movie, but pulled it. He declined to give a reason.
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