Copyright: DIE WELT,
January 18, 1997
Why Michael Douglas did not sign the Open Letter to Kohl
By Hanns-Georg Rodek
Cologne - The American actor Michael Douglas ("Basic Instinct", "Wall Street") refused to sign the Open Letter to German Chancellor Kohl, in which prominent members of the US film industry accused Germany of persecuting Scientologists today in the same way that Hitler did in the 1930's. "I did not feel right about the parallels that were drawn between the Nazi government and present-day Germany", said Douglas to the WELT in an interview.
Douglas, who is promoting his new Film "Der Geist und die Dunkelheit" ("The Spirit and the Darkness") in Europe, was approached by Bertram Fields, one of the most influential attorneys of the US entertainment industry last September. "We are often asked to support public causes, and we often do", said Douglas. "Fields had drafted a strongly worded text in which this dramatic comparison was obviously very provoking. I am darned glad that I didn't sign it. That was a close call."
Douglas is not the kind of guy to hide his head in the sand; he supports Cease Fire, and organization that struggles to attain better control of private weapons. Nevertheless he knows "that you have to be careful if you're going to meddle in the politics of other countries." And despite the fact that he had just shot a film with public Scientologist John Travolta, he had never talked with him about this subject: "I learned very early: if you don't talk about politics or religion, you can get along with anybody."
The Oscar prize winner supports the honest motivations of most of the people who signed the letter, motivations which are rooted in the Holocaust: "If they are in show business, most of them are probably jewish", he said half in jest, half seriously. He gives an analysis of the names that he knows personally. None of them are Scientologists themselves, but many have direct connections to both of the most prominent Hollywood sect members, Tom Cruise and John Travolta.
John Calley is the head of Sony Pictures, the company that manages Cruise's new film "Jerry Maguire". Sherry Lansing from Paramount, only woman at the top of a Hollywood studio, manages Cruise's current success "Mission: Impossible." Terry Semel, Boss of Warner Bros., will produce Cruise's forthcoming film. Jack Rapke and Rick Nicita are two of the most influential agents in the film industry and represent Cruise in the most important agency, Creative Artists Agency. Paula Wagner is Cruise's partner in their own company. Fred Westheimer tends to John Travolta in the William Morris Agency.
One week after the first big advertisement appeared in the "International Herald Tribune" another large advertisement, this time taken out directly by Scientology, appeared under the title "You are always welcome at the Church of Scientology.