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Ear to the Ground

Spielberg Quits Olympics Post in Protest of China

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Posted on Feb 12, 2008

Director Steven Spielberg was an artistic adviser to the 2008 Beijing Olympics but has resigned because of China’s unwillingness to put more pressure on the Sudanese government to bring an end to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. As he put it, “I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue business as usual.”


Sudan, with its vast oil reserves, sells some two-thirds of its oil to Beijing.

In turn, Beijing sells weapons to the Sudanese government and has defended Khartoum in the UN Security Council.

As a result, China has been criticised for its links with a government ostracised by many for its role in the ongoing crisis in Darfur.

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By Artimus, February 16, 2008 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Spielberg was invited by the IOC and China to help direct the artistic vision of the 2008 Olympics.  He has chosen not to accept the position due to the continued human rights abuses in Sudan which China has influence over. 

This decision is based upon Mr. Spielberg’s personal conscience.  He has never been offered a similar position by the IOC or Israel with respect to any other international event.  The two are, unlike the China/Sudan human rights issue, unrelated.

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By Earnric, February 13, 2008 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

Interesting… I didn’t realize “he” made it public.

“Celebrity” means that whatever the person does gets publized. I do not know if he did this for the publicity or not… and I don’t care. What I care about is that it was the right thing to do…

I find it amazing that you take the time rant about this stuff… and actually I’ve wasted enough time on this thread myself.

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By Aegrus, February 13, 2008 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment

Save it, Earnric. The reason people are annoyed is because Steven, like many others, makes these moral decisions public as if we should care. Spielberg is not president, and has no real power or authority vested in him by our people. His decisions don’t matter.

Are you really going to defend someone pretending to be important? Publicized Hollywood moral decisions are a façade to make them feel better about themselves in their vain and shallow existence. They don’t solve problems, just “raise awareness” by means of falsely assuming moral authority.

I decided today a few things. Maybe I should have news articles written about me too? It was absolutely imperative to me not to buy any goods today from a corporate establishment. Am I important yet? I also decided not to run over children (a stance which took every fiber of my being to command). Here’s the real story, though, I decided it would be in the best interest of America to un-spin these ridiculous stories of superficial merit. Maybe someone will write a piece about me now that these facts have been given to the public.

As long as the people with real power make decisions which destroy the lives of people every day without media coverage and phonies like Spielberg and Jolie get coverage for adopting children and saying no to genocide (such a stretch), we are not better as a society and change hasn’t begun to happen. Get with reality.

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By rowdy, February 13, 2008 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

the olympic committee will sue anyone using the word olympic as a business name. yet these same sorry motherfuckers are willing to hold their joke festival in the worst dictatorship on the planet. they are allowing the chinese to dictate the terms of participation in this event. Carter boycotted the 1980 olympics and the only people who suffered were the one’s who didn’t get big endorsement packages. fuck the olympics,they should not endorse dictatorships. it’s bad enough the assholes sucked up to hitler.

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By Earnric, February 13, 2008 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment

What does your rant have to do with Spielberg’s decision to drop off the committee?

This is post is another example of a non-sequitur ad hominem… It reminds me of all those patriotic conservatives who attended the 2004 convention and wore purple band aides. They openly mocked John Kerry’s service: a man who volunteered for combat duty. 

If you don’t like Spielberg’s films that’s fine: but attacking him for dropping support for a country that is complicit in an atrocity is irrational.

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By Angry African, February 13, 2008 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I would like to nominate Spielberg as an honorary Angry African for the day. He did not have to do it. He wasn’t under a lot of pressure. But he did it in any case. And we applaud him for doing that.

I recently wrote in my blog - Angry African on the Loose - that Harare should be given the next Olympics - if the Olympics follow their own argument and values in the same way they argued in favour of Beijing. See my blog( for more details. Steven you make us proud. You are now one of us!

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By Howard, February 13, 2008 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

I thought his “Schindler’ List” movie was excellant.  His others were very good to very very good.

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By ramblnrose, February 13, 2008 at 8:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Steven Spielberg is not a Zionist! Now go look up Zionist on Wikipedia you fool!

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By nazis-zionists-oneandthesame, February 13, 2008 at 8:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If ever there was a shining example of moral inconsistency it’s this guy. He makes cinema epics promoting Jews as persecuted, ethnically cleansed and slaughtered victims; but when Jews do it to Palestinians his silence is deafening, as is that of world Jewry. Speilberg and the word conscience cannot be said in the same breath.

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By Aegrus, February 13, 2008 at 7:27 am Link to this comment

Spielberg can go crawl into a hole and die. If he never directed or produced another film again, we would all be better off. It’s so annoying when these Hollywood elite make their moral decisions something of importance to newscasters and journalists.

There are people every day who have to choose between living their life straight or doing/dealing deadly substances. Many companies (big and small) have executives who could easily destroy the lives of their employees, but choose not to. Children refuse to lie specifically because it feels wrong to them to do so.

Piss off, Hollywood. You’re not special because you make a moral decision. You’re not special because you make lots of money. There is nothing good about anything you do. Get of the cross.

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By Eso, February 13, 2008 at 7:27 am Link to this comment

As at least one reader has suggested, Mr. Spielberg’s ship is effectively dead in water (or perhaps he is the black kettle calling the other kettle black). Israel vis a vis the United States and Sudan vis a vis China are both on square -1 and cannot move back, because -2 squared is 4. Once on the deck, you cannot move out of sight below deck, because that means that you can blow up the ship and yourself or surrender. Neither China or the U.S. are going to blink. Yes, terrible for the people, and death is not likely to end unless a discovered a quid pro quo. Sudan is a major strategic blunder on the part of Europe and the U.S. So is Venezuela. Why is did it happening? Because there is no breadth to our leadership, and NATO has got itself hung up along with the U.S. on the axis of Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan, not to mention Pakistan. This is a time when other lions and mice may come into the arena. This is like a hawk hitting a car if it comes into his tunnel vision before he can turn. Spielberg is nobody among who play the game, but nobodies are also they who play lead with a lack of vision and weak brain power. We might want to remember that Mao beat Chiang by letting Chiang fight the Japanese, and Mao paid off Stalin to take from Japan its northern island(s). It takes wit.

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By Thomas Billis, February 13, 2008 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

Stevie poor stupid deluded Stevie.To keep you happy the Chinese are going to piss off one of their major oil suppliers.Here is another project for yopu Stevie convince the Bush administration to tell the Saudi’s to stop funding terrorism.In Hollywood you may rule but Stevie in the rest of the real world it is oil.

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archeon of thrace's avatar

By archeon of thrace, February 13, 2008 at 12:04 am Link to this comment

if the plight of the people of Darfur is a cause to fight for, then too is the plight of the palestinians.

That Speilberg makes a stand against China re Darfur, and yet has never said a word about Israel, is a salient point.

I suppose like most things, race, culture, and religion are tighter bonds than humanity.  Ethno-solidarity is more important than justice and equity.

Pardon me, but if there ever was a people who should know the pain, the injustice, the inequity, of bigotry, racism, and prejudice - it is the Jews.  That the state of Israel has failed to learn from history is quite telling.  It may say more about the the inate nature of ALL humans than it does about the nature of Judaism.

It’s kind of like the women in the 1920s who screamed about the unequal treatment of women, but who supported the subjugation of negros.

But then again, my view is tempered by the idea that it is better for small tokens of outrage against the misstreatment of a small portion of humanity be expressed, than for nothing ever to be said on the subject.  That if some sort of resolution to the crisis in Darfur could be acheived that this might influence a re-concilliation/re-solution of the Palestinian/Israel confict.  But then the Palestinians do not have any oil we want.

All in all, I do comend Speilberg on taking a stand.  I would have prefered he take a stand on Palestine also, but he has to make his choices as they are right for him.

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By Charlie, February 12, 2008 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I guess he is happy to see his country killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqies. Or he is happy to see his Israel chasing the Palastines out of their land and killing them. But he can’t stand China doing business with a country that has internal conflict. Good for him! But who cares other than those dying for attention and politicize a sports event. It is against the Olympic spirit. Inviting this guy shows the respect and generosity of the Chinese committee. But he doesn’t deserve their respect.

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By RAE, February 12, 2008 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment

I feel for ya, fella… but you can rant, rave and boycott all you like against ANY of the many hypocritical travesties perpetrated by almost ANY government you can name and it won’t do any good.

When there are BILLIONS of BUCKS to be made, NOTHING will stop those in control of humanity from getting their hands on the loot.

I often wonder what they’re going to do with it when they eventually have it all? There won’t be anyone left with anything valuable to buy.

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By levi civita, February 12, 2008 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And what is his spiel about US not getting out of the Darfur? Resign from being a US citizen? May be he should make another black and white film about it.

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By VHS-not-BETA, February 12, 2008 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Howard’s got a point there. All y’all got an obsession, and it’s kinda weird, actually.

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By PatrickHenry, February 12, 2008 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment

Who you betting, lilmamzer and lefty?

Since Spielberg wants to be political, lets see if he’s a hypocrite or not.

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By QuyTran, February 12, 2008 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

Does he really have conscience ?

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By Howard, February 12, 2008 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment

Go get ‘em.  New topic.  I win another bet. Imagine !Not a single thing to do with Israel; and you guys are there.  Any topic , no matter its material or whoever its about…. you guys gotta’ bring Israel in,you know, to discuss your dislike of that tiny country.  No matter what. 

Give it a break, fella’s.  Try Kenya, Sudan, Dafur, China, Tibet, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Syria ....if you can’t stick with the topic above.

Your agendas are showing.

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By mark mac, February 12, 2008 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

hey mister speilberg ,

why don’t you try getting involved in your own country’s lack of empathy . you have forgotten where you came from . right now , there are only two kinds of people in this country…the have—not’s and the have—it—all’s .

we know which group you belong to .

i am sooooo sick of this country and its ’ elite messing around in other countries . we have no business there . we have business here .

you seem like an intelligent human being .think what it was like to make your best film . ’ empire of the sun .
return to that person . make a difference .

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By PatrickHenry, February 12, 2008 at 5:08 pm Link to this comment

I wonder how Sielberg feels about Israel and the plight of the Palestinians?

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By weather, February 12, 2008 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

of any respect or standing come out and confront the remarkable arrogance and manipulating deceit of Israel.

- and for those that claim they have spoken out, speak louder.

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