Film critic Leonard Maltin blasted left-wing documentary filmmaker Michael Moore for stiffing and smearing Boston Light & Sound, Inc.
The dispute stems from an unpaid bill of $159,000 owed to Boston Light & Sound by the Traverse City Film Fest, which was founded and is run by documentary filmmaker Michael Moore.
Earlier this year, after Boston Light & Sound filed suit to recover its money, the company’s Principal of Operations Chapin Cutler told the local media, “It became apparent the festival had overextended. The festival’s eyes were a bit bigger than their finances could handle, and we were the people left standing, holding an invoice.”
They were also told Moore’s festival is running at a deficit, so there was no money to pay the company that comes in and makes the film festival possible by setting up the sound, lighting, and projection.
In the lawsuit, Boston further claims that Moore’s festival threatened “to distribute false and defamatory stories to harm BL&S’ good name and business relationships” if they persisted in demanding payment.
According to Maltin, that is exactly what Michael Moore, who has spent 30 years posing as the champion of the every-man, is doing.
Back in August, Moore trashed the company as incompetent, says he fired them, and also claims they owe him money:
“It will never go to court,” he said. “I can’t even imagine that. This is…personal on their end.” Moore said Boston Light & Sound, which was dropped by TCFF for the 2018 festival after a previous thirteen-year partnership, has also been dropped by other film festivals – implying the company wasn’t performing up to industry standards. “They didn’t sue until after we dropped them,” Moore said. “They were upset.” Moore said an ongoing internal probe of the festival’s finances made board members concerned that “we may not owe (Boston Light & Sound) anything…they owe us.” He added that “those responsible on their end will regret that they did this,” referring to the company’s filing of the lawsuit.
Maltin, who has been a mainstay in the world of movie criticism reaching back to the 1970s, is also one of the least political film writers out there. He sticks to his business, the business of movies, so his entry into this kind of controversy is, if memory serves, unprecedented.
Obviously, though, Maltin and his daughter Jessie are disgusted enough with Moore’s behavior to publicly defend Boston over the weekend via a video released on his Twitter account.
“I’m extremely uncomfortable doing something like this. I have no desire to fight or argue with anyone—but I must stand up for my dear friends at Boston Light and Sound,” Maltin writes in the tweet. “#Michael Moore is slandering them—and I can’t stand idly by while that happens.”
In the two-minute video, Maltin says he “respects and admires” Moore but “can’t sit by silently” as Moore “slanders” his friends at the company. Maltin is angry that Moore declared the Boston lawsuit a “personal vendetta” against him during a recent appearance at the Toronto Film Festival.
I’m extremely uncomfortable doing something like this. I have no desire to fight or argue with anyone—but I must stand up for my dear friends at Boston Light and Sound. #MichaelMoore is slandering them—and I can’t stand idly by while that happens. pic.twitter.com/Skw1saBSiW
— Leonard Maltin (@leonardmaltin) September 9, 2018
Maltin and his daughter point out that Boston was forced to file a lawsuit against Moore’s festival, and that without the company Moore’s film festival would never have gotten off the ground. Maltin also produces a photograph signed by Moore singing the praises of the company.
“I don’t call it a ‘personal vendetta’ when I get stiffed for money that I’m owed and that I’ve done the work required,” Maltin says. “And Michael Moore is a man who’s always stood up for the little guy, and wants people to do the right thing. Well, do the right thing is what I’m saying, and I hope he will hear [this].”
Maltin adds, “Just say ‘no comment.’ Don’t smear Boston Light & Sound, they don’t deserve that.”
Jessie Maltin added even more to the story in subsequent tweets.
Apparently, Moore has a reputation for stiffing his workers and contractors, a history covered up by the left-wing entertainment media.
“It’s a pattern. So many lawsuits, so many nightmarish stories. Makes me sick,” Jessie tweeted.
In another she writes, “For years Michael Moore has neglected his bills. This time he refused to pay our friends for their work on his film festival (they helped him build it from the ground up.) They finally filed a lawsuit, so now he’s slandering them.”
It’s a pattern. So many lawsuits, so many nightmarish stories. Makes me sick
— Jessie Maltin (@jessiemaltin) September 9, 2018
For years Michael Moore has neglected his bills. This time he refused to pay our friends for their work on his film festival (they helped him build it from the ground up.) They finally filed a lawsuit, so now he’s slandering them.
— Jessie Maltin (@jessiemaltin) September 9, 2018
Moore could easily pay this bill out of his own pocket. At one point he owned some nine homes and is worth, according to some estimates, upwards of $50 million.