Actor Martin Sheen says he’s received an avalanche of hate mail and has been accosted on the street for his public stance against the war on Iraq.
Actor Martin Sheen (photo: Hollywood.com)
The star of NBC’s “West Wing” program also believes network executives are concerned that his outspoken views may harm viewership of his show.
In a report in today’s Los Angeles Times, Sheen claims critics have demanded NBC fire him. The show’s staff has been “100 percent supportive,” but top network executives have “let it be known they’re very uncomfortable with where I’m at” on the war, he said.
Sheen also told the Times the furor “doesn’t make me comfortable, but I must be doing something right.” He added that he decided long ago it was more important to follow his personal convictions than to be on the “winning side.”
NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks told the Associated Press she knows of “no concern among top management at NBC regarding Mr. Sheen’s stand against the war or fear that it could impact the show.”
Sheen is among a group of entertainers campaigning against any military conflict with Iraq. He even starred in a recent commercial plugging the so-called Virtual March on Washington, stating “Don’t invade Iraq. Inspections work.”
As WorldNetDaily reported last week, a Los Angeles radio station is sponsoring a Virtual March on Hollywood, to encourage ordinary citizens to flood actors, singers and talent agencies with their own thoughts.
“These [celebrities] are abusing their stature and they need to be informed that there is a lot of America who vehemently disagrees with them,” said KFI-AM host John Kobylt. “They need to be put back in their place. They need to understand where they are in the great food chain of life.”
Meanwhile, two actors at the forefront of the public-relations battle went head to head on NBC’s “Meet the Press” today.
“Law & Order” star Fred Thompson, a former Republican senator from Tennessee, has created his own commercial backing President Bush’s efforts to disarm Saddam Hussein. He squared off against Mike Farrell, who is best known for his portrayal of a U.S. surgeon in the Korean War TV series “M*A*S*H.”
Farrell is in agreement with Sheen, that there should be no military conflict at this point, since he believes U.N. weapons inspections are having success:
The inspectors were not thrown out by Saddam Hussein in 1998. They were pulled out by President Clinton. That was a choice that President Clinton made. The inspectors that have been put back in have been put back in under a different, more stringent and more muscular, if you will, mandate. The inspectors have more highly sensitive and highly technologically developed instruments at their disposal. The inspectors have found, with the cooperation, let me just add, of Saddam Hussein, these al-Samoud missiles, which technically violate the U.N.-imposed standards and, therefore, are being destroyed.
What is happening is, whether we like to admit it or not, there is a degree of cooperation from Saddam Hussein, but because of the sophistication and capability of the inspections team, cooperation is not necessary. What is necessary is to keep the inspections teams in the country, expand them to the degree necessary, and continue their operations so that we can strip this man of all weapons of mass destruction, and otherwise, that are unacceptable to the international community. To insist that what we need to do is invade this country, killing, as the government has now admitted, thousands of Iraqi civilians, endangering the lives of our troops, expending horrendous amounts of money and, if former Senator – forgive me – Thompson is concerned about the 200,000 troops now on the ground around Iraq, let me suggest that General Shinseki says it’s going to cost hundreds of thousands of troops in the country to maintain the occupation that we will be required to uphold. And that is something that has not been budgeted for, and the American people haven’t been told about the expense of it.
None of this is necessary if we can simply – this man is incarcerated, Saddam Hussein, by the surrounding troops, the overflights, the inspectors, etc. He can do no harm to anyone. Let’s keep him that way at a cost much less than the war, and at a cost of much less bloodshed, and let’s keep him that way while we go about pursuing the real villain in this who is Osama bin Laden, who some now call Osama bin Forgotten.
Thompson responded by challenging each assertion made by Farrell:
Oh, my goodness, where do you start? As far as saying that Saddam doesn’t need to cooperate, that really still continually surprises. All of our inspectors say that it will never work unless he does. The U.N. resolution, which I thought we were trying to enhance and be supportive of as a country, and those on the other side were – 1441 says last chance, you’ve got to prove to us that you have done what you said that you would do as a condition for our not going to Baghdad in 1991. So, of course, he is supposed to do that and he must do that. And to let Saddam Hussein off the hook because he is a little less of a tyrant than Osama bin Laden is bizarre, to say the least. The inspectors were thrown out in 1998. I wonder why they think that President Clinton chose to bomb Iraq for four days at that particular time? And, by the way, I didn’t see anybody taking to the streets at that point protesting innocent civilians.
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