Steven Spielberg has long been attached to the 2008 summer games in Beijing, his wizardry over childlike wonder™ secured by organizers for their opening ceremonies. The decision greatly angered Mia Farrow, who blamed the Sudanese-backing Chinese government of helping to fund the Darfur genocide; in a now-famous WSJ op-ed from last March, she likened the Schindler's List director to Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl for agreeing to work with a regime with so much blood on its hands. Minutes ago, news broke that Spielberg would be pulling out of the Olympics, citing Darfur as the reason. His statement follows after the jump:
"After careful consideration, I have decided to formally announce the end of my involvement as one of the overseas artistic advisers to the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games."
"I have made repeated efforts to encourage the Chinese government to use its unique influence to bring safety and stability to the Darfur region of Sudan. Although some progress has been made ...the situation continues to worsen and the violence continues to accelerate."
"With this in mind, I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue with business as usual. At this point, my time and energy must be spent not on Olympic ceremonies, but on doing all I can to help bring an end to the unspeakable crimes against humanity that will continue to be committed in Darfur.
While we respect Spielberg's decision, we must admit to being more than a little disappointed at the outcome. If the rumors were true, audiences will now be robbed of witnessing one of Olympics history's most spectacular set pieces, in which the entire Israeli cycling team would take miraculous flight across a moonlit Beijing sky, a blanket-wrapped Mary Lou Retton leading the way with one illuminated finger outstretched.
- Spielberg pulls out of Olympics [Variety]