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Abortion isn’t very funny, as comedian Jimmy Kimmel is learning the hard way.
On June 25 the youth pro-life activist group Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust was holding a Face the Truth event in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, as was their First Amendment right.
“Face the Truth” is pro-life speak for showing the public the reality of abortion via large graphic photos of aborted babies.
While the pro-life protest was under way, a film crew showed up to tape a stunt across the street for “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” seen weeknights on ABC.
But members of the crew quickly became aggravated by the gory aborted baby-photos and turned two of the hot spotlights on Survivor Ryan Bueler.
In this video, one of many captured by the Survivors, a cameraman states several times he has turned the spotlight on Bueler and his sign because “I don’t want to see that,” and “The fact is, I don’t want to see it.”
The hot spotlights were aimed at Bueler for 15 minutes while he refused to move, melting his bracelet, his sign and reddening his skin.
Finally, what pro-lifers thought were Los Angeles Police Department officers showed up on the scene.
Only they weren’t. They were retired and off-duty LAPD cops dressed in uniform who had been hired for security by Kimmel’s film crew. As one commenter on one of my blog posts about this wrote, “Don’t be fooled. They’re to protect the production, not the public.”
Which was true. The rent-a-cops only intervened when Jeff White, founder of the Survivors, finally attempted to turn the spotlight away from Bueler, as seen in the above video, when cameramen wouldn’t.
Meanwhile, the police posers presented themselves as the real deal to pro-lifers until Troy Newman of Operation Rescue caught on, as seen in this video clip:
In the next video, White asks one of the film-crew cops point-blank several times, “Are you LAPD?” The rent-a-cop attempts to deflect White’s questioning before wilting away as the same younger rent-a-cop as in the first video steps in. Incidentally, White’s shirt was torn by the cameramen.
It turns out pro-lifers found themselves the victims of a long-running dispute between the LAPD and the Hollywood film industry over whether rent-a-cops should wear uniforms or not.
On one side is the industry that says, 1) the public won’t respect film-crew cops who wear security-guard garb; and 2) they’ll have to pay more for on-duty cops in LAPD uniforms.
On the other side is the LAPD, which, quoting the Los Angeles Daily News, “is concerned that retired officers do not have enough training, and it creates the impression that the LAPD is staffing the shoots.”
That’s exactly what happened in the Kimmel lighting-crew incident.
One of many problems here in the interest of justice is the built-in bias of rent-a-cops in favor of the film crew they are being paid to protect. If they make waves for members of the very company that has hired them, they obviously know they’ll not get hired again.
The next problem is the built-in bias of on-duty cops coming late on the scene to believe what their rent-a-cop brothers tell them about the situation. Note in the second video the young rent-a-cop stated on-duty police apprehended White and not the camera crew because “he’s instigating this,” when, in fact, the opposite was true.
It was only after the Survivors showed the police chief video of events that White was released after a few hours with no charges pressed. Meanwhile, police refused to arrest the film crew who attempted to bake Bueler.
After the incident, the Survivors sent Kimmel a letter requesting an apology on behalf of his film crew as well to affirm their right of free speech. Kimmel would have been wise to appease the pro-lifers, but an apology never came.
So, on July 1, the Survivors staged a morning protest in front of Kimmel’s Los Angeles home and an afternoon protest in front of his Los Angeles studio. At the latter protest came an announcement that free tickets were still available for that night’s Kimmel show outdoor taping, and, wouldn’t you know, four Survivors each snagged one.
They decided to disperse themselves throughout the audience, wait 20 minutes after taping had commenced, and then begin raising a ruckus, imploring Kimmel to stand up for free speech and condemn the actions of his lighting crew.
Meanwhile, here was the scene outside the studio, on the other side of the fence:
Back inside, just as guest Dakota Fanning settled in for her interview, the four Survivors began shouting for Kimmel to stop letting his people silence their message.
Kimmel and Fanning stopped talking and peered out into the audience to see what was going on. In fact, “everything stopped,” reported a source to me. Police (real or not, I don’t know) quickly escorted the four out, and since taping was on delay, the scene was edited out. Here is video I received of the incident. Most of the action takes place between 0:33-1:40:
Kimmel’s producers followed the police and kids out and tried to negotiate with them, two of whom were underage. They said that if the Survivors would stop “coming after Jimmy,” they wouldn’t prosecute.
The Survivors responded that if the four weren’t immediately released, their group would show up en masse at Kimmel’s house the following morning at 7 a.m.
Kimmel’s producers said the lighting people were not part of their team; the company was hired just for the day. Producers promised not to hire the company again. Within 30 minutes the four Survivors were released.
But still no apology from Kimmel.
In the words of Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman,” “Big mistake.”
So Bueler and White are going to sue. Who? Here’s what I was told:
We will cast a broad net, suing crew members individually; security guards; retired officers posing as active-duty and off-duty cops acting as if they were on-duty to thwart our attempts to get the assault to stop; the company that hired the camera crew, which may be different than Kimmel; and, yes, Kimmel.
Seems to me they have quite a case, on more than one point.
Take-away: Pro-life activists don’t joke around. Don’t mess with them.