By Stephen McKinley
An Irish-American priest who is a chaplain at Ground Zero has condemned a movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger saying it exploits the events of Sept. 11 and desecrates the memory of the hero firefighters.
Fr. Brian Jordan last week attacked “Collateral Damage,” which was due to be released on Oct. 8, 2001, but which was postponed due to Sept. 11’s terror attacks. The film opened in theaters last week.
“The movie discriminates against Colombians and indirectly exploits 9/11,” Jordan told the Echo, adding that some of his pastoral work took him into contact with New York’s Colombian community, where there is anger and fear that Colombians are being presented in a negative light in the movie.
The plot involves Schwarzenegger witnessing a terrorist attack in the U.S. carried out by a Colombian drug lord. Schwarzenegger plays a firefighter who turns vigilante and takes his revenge back to the Colombian jungles, suddenly acquiring remarkable guerilla warfare techniques along the way.
Jordan said that the movie industry ought to be more responsible after the events of Sept. 11.
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“Granted, the film was made before 9/11 and the makers had no intention of exploiting that, because it hadn’t happened yet,” he said. “However, I think Hollywood should be more responsible. I’m not in favor of censorship, I’m wanting people to be more sensitive.”
“There are a few bad Colombians but a lot of good Colombians, just as there are a few bad Irish and a lot of good Irish people. Had this been an Italian terrorist or an Isr’li terrorist, would we ever have heard the end of the protests?”
Jordan admitted that he had not seen the film, but said that he had tried to see a preview of it: “I contacted the studio but the calls were never returned,” he said.
“We had a press conference last Sunday, but decided not to protest, because the police had just come off the WEF protests. They all agree with me about the exploitation of 9/11.”
On NBC’s “Today” show, Schwarzenegger defended the movie. He told viewers that “this is a story about what America is doing to Colombia, and what Colombians, a few Colombian terrorists, are doing to America and what damage does it cause.”
Jordan said, “He’s a savvy marketer, trying to make people go see this racist and insensitive film.
“We’re a global nation and we can’t live in isolation.”