Hollywood Environmentalists Defend Anti-Fracking Film After O'Keefe Sting

A group of Hollywood environmentalists are defending their intentions to create an anti-fracking film funded by oil interests in the Middle East after unwittingly participating in a James O’Keefe’s latest sting.

In the video, O’Keefe’s undercover journalist plays a character named "Muhammad,” a member of a wealthy oil family in the Middle East who offers to fund a film to discourage fracking in the United States.

Actor Ed Begley, Jr. was joined by actress Mariel Hemingway and environmentalist film producers Josh and Rebecca Tickell who agreed to keep the sources of the funding secret.

In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, Begely defended Tickell’s actions

“I don't think it's bad Josh Tickell is taking money from some Arab guy. It's much better than giving money to Middle East oil, which I've spent my whole life against,” he said. “Think about it. My electric car. My bicycle. How much foreign oil is there in that? Unlike these James O'Keefe characters who ride around in gas guzzlers, I've given no money to foreign oil."

Rebecca Tickell also defended their actions in the video.

"When we make a film, it's to spread awareness of the dangers of fracking, and when they asked us to not disclose where the money came from, you know, as far as we were concerned we shared the same goal, which was to end fracking in America," she told the Hollywood Reporter. "This film is so important that I don't want it to get lost in the shuffle of he said, she said."

Since O’Keefe released the video, the Tickells have launched a crowd funding campaign to help them make their anti-fracking film.

In a lengthy statement on his crowdfunding site, Tickell defended his intentions.

“We thought to ourselves ‘oh the irony! We’ll use the funding from an oil company to make a film that promotes green energy!’” Tickel said defensively, reminding potential crowdfunders that it was really all American money anyway. “We figured - What better use of our money than to make a film to encourage changing that whole screwed up system?” 

Tickel cited O'Keefe's sting as proof that the pro-fracking movement would stop at nothing to stop them from funding their film. 

“Apparently, its such a threat – that they felt the need to try and discredit us – to scare us – and to keep this movie from being made. It seems they think this movie – and the successful movement it aims to document – might be the most dangerous thing the fracking industry has ever seen. We see that as a vote of confidence that we should make this film,” Tickell wrote. “So here’s our request – if you care about the environment, if you want safe drinking water for your kids and if you want to join our mission – then help us fund this movie.”


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