An actor has pulled out of a true-life drama taken from verbatim transcripts of an $80 billion lawsuit launched against Chevron oil: he didn’t like the play’s anti-environmentalist message.
Phelim McAleer’s play, The $18-Billion Prize, opens on Saturday at the Phoenix Theater in San Francisco.
But it will have to go ahead without the actor originally slated to play one of the villains of the piece, New York City attorney Steven Donziger.
According to the Washington Examiner:
Sources who are close to the actor have informed me that an actor who was playing the part of a New York City attorney named Steven Donziger stormed off the set after the second rehearsal.
Apparently, the actor had difficultly performing the part because it cast the environmental movement in a negative light, the sources say.
The drama shows how Donziger colluded with environmental activists in an ambitious scheme to shake down Chevron oil for billions of dollars as compensation for the environmental damage it had supposedly caused during drilling in Ecuador. Donziger personally stood to make $600 million from this arrangement.
You can read the full story here.
Despite high-level celebrity support from Mia Farrow, Sting, Trudy Styler, and Darryl Hannah, and also from the usual green activist bodies, including Amazon Watch, Rainforest Action Network, and the Sierra Club, the judge found the suit to be fraudulent.
That the play shows environmentalists in an extremely bad light is not in dispute. But nor are the facts of the case – which Donziger lost because of one major rookie error…
As Breitbart News reported here:
In a supreme act of arrogance, he decided to turn his legal adventures into a Michael-Moore-style documentary with himself as the crusading hero negotiating his way through a corrupt legal system, battling a powerful and heartless oil giant, on behalf of the ordinary people of Ecuador. The movie – inevitably – was premiered at the Sundance Festival.
Donziger was under the illusion that this supposedly independent (though not really) movie could not be used in evidence. Judge Kaplan thought differently and subpoenaed 600 hours of footage.
This enabled the court to demonstrate some entertaining contrasts between what Donziger said about the Ecuadorean legal system in court – ie that its decision was reliable – and what he said about it in the various outtakes from Crude.
Staging the play in San Francisco was a characteristically provocative gesture by McAleer, who has been a scourge of the environmental movement ever since his pro-shale gas documentary, Frack Nation.
Kevin Mooney reported:
McAleer has been making use of a storytelling technique known as “verbatim theater,” which draws from courtroom testimony as the basis for dialogue. He also used this technique in a play about the fatal police shooting of an 18-year-old black male in Ferguson, Mo., which lead to riots. He is using this technique again to help tell the story about the Chevron case and legal findings that show environmental activists colluded with trial lawyers to advance fraudulent claims. Nine of the 13 cast members of “Ferguson” play walked out on McAleer during rehearsals in Los Angeles.
Apparently, he has a special talent for getting a rise out of actors who celebrate diversity in theory but reject viewpoints rooted in hard evidence that challenge media narratives.
“The $18-Billion Prize reveals a dirty secret that many environmental lawsuits are frauds based on outrageous claims and sometimes outright lies and that the media are little more than stenographers for these liars,” McAleer said in an email. He also criticized “Hollywood elites” who give cover to false claims.
You can support the play and buy tickets for it here at Indiegogo. The play runs until June 13.