‘Powerful People’ Tried to Block Release of Kennedy Film ‘Chappaquiddick’
— Was Mary Jo Kopechne one of the “original #MeToo victims.”?
The head of the studio releasing the new film “Chappaquiddick” about the 1969 incident involving former Sen. Ted Kennedy and the death of a 29-year-old woman said “powerful people” tried to pressure him not to distribute it.
Entertainment Studios CEO Byron Allen told Variety he did not yield to those people, who apparently did not like seeing the Democratic icon from a political dynasty put in a bad light.
“Unfortunately, there are some very powerful people who tried to put pressure on me not to release this movie,” Allen said. “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.”
“Someone very powerful, top of the food chain came to me,” said Allen. “Sat in my conference room with the president of my theatrical distribution and said, ‘Look, someone has come to them who is very influential and enlisted their help in what they could do to hurt the movie, stop the movie from getting distribution, and convince me not to support it.’”
“I made it very clear that was not a conversation we were willing to have, and based on that conversation we were going to increase our commitment to make sure this picture got out there in a bigger way,” Allen stated. “So at that moment, I increased the ad budget.”
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Kennedy reportedly drove the car off a narrow bridge on Chappaquiddick Island into the water and managed to free himself from the vehicle. However, he then left the scene and did not report the accident until the following morning.
Allen said Mary Jo Kopechne — who died in a car crash off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard in July 1969 with an allegedly intoxicated Kennedy at the wheel — was one of the “original #MeToo victims.”