The late Sen. Ted Kennedy was involved in a scandal that resulted in the death of a young lady nearly 50 years ago. Many today have forgotten (or weren't even born), but a new movie spells out the events of the night and its creators are receiving flack for telling the story.
"Unfortunately, there are some very powerful people who tried to put pressure on me not to release this movie," said Byron Allen, executive producer of the film and Entertainment Studios CEO. "They went out of their way to try and influence me in a negative way. I made it very clear that I'm not about the right, I'm not about the left. I'm about the truth."
Sen. Kennedy was seen as a formidable prospect for the upcoming presidential race in 1972.
But the undisputed facts are that on July 18, 1969, Kennedy drove from a party with Mary Jo Kopechne as his passenger, and she died in the vehicle after it was driven into a channel and submerged.
The party had been hosted by Kennedy, and included six single "boiler-room" girls who had served on the presidential campaign of his brother, Robert, who had been murdered a year earlier. All six of the men present were married at the time.
Kennedy was able to escape when the car was submerged, but didn't report the incident until 10 hours after the accident occurred. It's speculated by divers that Kopechne survived several hours in the car, breathing from an air pocket within. But there are conflicting reports on the timing of the accident, which create questions to this day.
After a screening of the film at the Martha's Vineyard Film Festival last month, reviews were mixed. Director John Curran said, "There were a surprising number of people in the audience at both screenings that were alive when it happened, and living on the island, so that was pretty great. The best comment that sort of summed up how people felt was a guy who said:
'Look, you know, I was a fan of Ted Kennedy, and I really appreciate this film because I think it was like a very authentic and honest portrayal of him, and it was hard to watch, but I have to admit that we were all complicit with it, we all knew, everybody knew something went down, but we continued to support him.'"