Over the course of this week, Glenn Beck has been enlivening Americans about harnessing their power to "create" something -- art, music, an invention, something. Gerald Molen, the Academy-Award winning co-producer of "Schindler's List," was set to motivate a graduating class of high school seniors in May during a commencement address about their ability to "conceive, to believe and to achieve." Being in the film industry, he was going to suggest they write a script -- one "filled with step-by-step goals of proper preparation and scenes depicting them as lawyers, doctors, captains of industry and/or having careers as they saw themselves in 20 or 30 or 40 years in the future."
Molen though never gave this address. According to Hollywood reporter, the former U.S. Marine who also produced films including "Jurassic Park" and "Twister" showed up to Ronan High School in Montana only to be told he would not be allowed to give his presentation.
Molen wrote a letter to the local newspaper -- the Daily Inter Lake -- in late May expressing his disbelief that a school in Montana would disinvite a speaker. He writes the reasoning he was given was that some people were concerned the speaker would be "too right-wing or having an opinion that might be counter to theirs." In meeting with principal Tom Stack, Molen said he was never asked about the true content of his presentation:
I served three years in the Marine Corps so that others might stand before their peers or even a group of students, but never did I think my voice would be stilled by some mysterious caller(s) on the notion that I might say something they “thought” would not be in the students’ best interests. Reminds me of another time in history when voices were silenced by the mere suggestion they might be different or have a point of view. I never dreamed it might happen in Montana.
Hollywood Reporter has more on Molen's undelivered address that he described as "apolitical:"
Molen has spoken at dozens of schools and never accepts a fee. When one is offered, he asks that it be donated to the Shoah Foundation, the nonprofit organization founded by Spielberg and dedicated to the remembrance of the Holocaust.
When speaking to students, Molen’s presentations usually invoke Oskar Schindler, who is credited with saving 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust and is the subject of the Oscar-winning 1993 film that Molen co-produced with Spielberg and Branko Lustig.
For the Ronan students, Molen planned to use Schindler as an example of what courageous individuals could accomplish [...]
Hollywood reporter contacted Stack and the school itself for comment but calls were not returned.
Molen went on to write in his letter that his intent of the speech was to ultimately inspire the graduating seniors as they move forward in life, as most commencement speakers would set out to do. Instead, he writes, the students were "indoctrinated with a sense of fear and mistrust that a fellow Montanan just might stand before them and say something some official school administrator deemed 'possibly harmful.'"
Since Molen's letter, Hollywood Reporter states that local citizens are looking for more answers as to what happened.